Report of the IIT Bombay Wildlife Club's Winter Symbiosis '93 held at the Namdapha Tiger Reserve is enclosed. Please distribute it freely to anyone who may be interested. This document is also available on the Internet via the following URL
Please send comments/corrections/requests for more info to : YOGESH WADADEKAR
Yogesh Wadadekar
I-1 Rajat
968/20 S Bapat Road
Pune 411 053

Email: yogeshw \at/


Yogesh Wadadekar

December 1994

We gratefully acknowledge the help and cooperation received from Project Tiger authorities at Namdapha Tiger Reserve particularly the Field Director, Mr.. Yogesh Kumar, the research staff Dr. S.S. Chandiramani and Mr. Bhatt wh o made our stay at Namdapha a most pleasurable and memorable experience. We also take this opportunity to thank Dr. N.K. Khosla (Chairman Cultural) and Dr. G.K. Sharma (Dean Student Affairs) for support and assistance for our trip. We also re cord our thanks to Prof. A.S. Mahajan, whose presence on the trip was a continuous transfusion of ideas, knowledge, enthusiasm and perspective for all of us.

1 Basic Information on Namdapha Tiger Reserve and some Observations

1.1 Geography of Namdapha Tiger Reserve

Namdapha Tiger Reserve lies in the Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh, the eastern most state of the Indian Union. The present area of the park is 1985 sq. km. including 1808 sq. km. of core area and 177.4 sq. km. o f buffer area. The park is bounded to the North by the Dapha Bum Ridge, a long range of mountains stretching East-West and having Dapha Bum peak (4598 m) as its highest point. Daphabum is also the highest point in the Reserve. To the south lie the Patkai Ranges on the Indo-Myanmar border. To the east are unbroken forests of the Vijoynagar circle up to the Myanmar border. The village of Deban lies on the western boundary.The entire area of the reserve is mountainous an d forms the catchment area of the Noa-dehing (also known as the Diyun) a tributary of the Brahmaputra. The Diyun flows from East to West in the reserve. In addition there are some natural lakes, (locally called beels) in the high hil ls of Namdapha. Besides these there are a few small pools, such as Moti Jheel, Rani Jheel, and Raja Jheel. These pools and lakes attract migratory waterfowl.[1]

The Diyun Valley of Namdapha opens out to the upper Brahmaputra Valley. The North-eastern hills along Nagaland enclose the South-eastern sides of the upper Brahmaputra Valley while the Greater Himalaya and its foothills are positioned such that the monsoon clouds get trapped in Upper Assam causing extremely heavy rainfall. In all the valleys of Arunachal Pradesh opening to the West, particularly in the southern segment in which the Diyun valley lies, rain occurs most heavily for almost 8 months of the year with a short winter (October-January) being comparatively dry. The Diyun has a very low valley floor. The mouth of the valley is less than 150 m above sea level while the uppermost reaches, about 175 km. to the east, are less than 1500m above sea level. As a result, tropical vegetation and climate occur throughout the length of the valley.

Historically, the Diyun Valley must have been a major migration path into India for Arunachal tribes who trace their origin from Thailand or further East. This is because the valley is the only route free of snow linking Upper Myanmar with the Assam Valley. Even in recent years this migration has been continuing in case of tribes such as the Lisu. The Lisu are today settled at Gandhigram lying at the Eastern end of the reserve. Their present number in this large settlement is about a thousand. The tribe is today antagonistic towards the Park administration. They have also been found to indulge in poaching on a limited scale. During our travels in Namdapha, we found malicious statements against the Wildlife Wing painted at a couple of places, by Lisus.

1.2 How to get there:

The headquarters of the Namdapha Tiger Reserve are located in the town of Miao. Miao is a quaint little town located on the eastern boundary of the reserve. Miao is conveniently accessible from the Assamese town of Tins ukia (110 km.) which is well connected to other Assamese cities (such as Gauhati, Dibrugarh) by road and rail. The nearest airport to Namdapha is at Mohanbari (Dibrugarh). For traveller's from outside the North-east, the most convenient rout e is Gauhati-Tinsukia/Dibrugarh - Miao. Both Arunachal and Assam State transport services run buses from Tinsukia to Miao.

1.3 Entry formalities

Entry into Arunachal Pradesh requires a permit which is issued by the Secretary (Political) Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. An Application giving all details of the proposed visit and information about the applicant such as date of birth, age, local address, permanent address should be made, (by post) at least two months in advance. The permit is also supposed to be available at Mohanbari, but the exact procedure is unknown to us. The Resident Commissioner of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh is stationed in New Delhi. He is also authorized to issue an Entry Permit after taking approval from the Secretary Political in Itanagar.The visitor should also make it a point to inform the Field Director at Miao about the visit as any response from him is a useful document to have in case of any trouble. Entry into Arunachal Pradesh occurs at the Namchik Checkpoint, a few kilometers beyond the town of Jagun in Assam. Jagun is the nearest town with S.T.D. facility, although Miao is expected to get this facility soon. Useful addresses are given on Page 8.

1.4 Where to stay

Accommodation for tourists is now available only at Miao and at the village of Deban which is 27 km. from Miao, and lies inside the reserve. Facilities at Miao are meant to serve as a transit for tourists bound for Deban. Deban is far more interes ting a place to stay than Miao. The forest rest house at Deban is located on the banks of the Diyun in incredibly beautiful terrain. Researchers are permitted to travel in the Buffer Zone. Simple housing in this Zone is available at v arious places such as Haldibari, Hornbill Camp, Firmbase Camp, Bulbulia, and the 40th mile Camp. Accommodation facilities are likely to improve in the future. Accommodation at Deban should preferably be booked in advance by writing to the Field Director.

1.5 Flora of the Reserve

The vegetation may be broadly classified into tropical, temperate and alpine vegetation. The lowland tropical forests of Namdapha are perhaps the last remaining Dipterocarpus forests in India. The valley forests can be c lassified into the following (after Champion and Seth's classification.)

  1. Assam valley Tropical Rain forests
  2. North Indian Tropical Moist Deciduous forests
  3. Miscellaneous forests

1.5.1 Assam Valley Tropical Forest

This type of forest is found in the Diyun Valley and in the hills up to a certain elevation. These forests are typically three- storeyed with Hollong and Mekai forming a definite dominant layer. The top storey also co ntains Hollock (Terminalia myriocarpa) and Jhutuli (Altinsia excelsa).The understorey is extremely dense with many species of woody shrubs, climbers, ground orchids (Dendrobium spp.) and ferns. Ferns are profuse and giant-sized too, the most handsome being the tree ferns, Cyathea spp]. and Angiopteris evecta. The variety of saprophytic fungi is also staggering.

1.5.2 North Indian Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests

On alluvial flats, along rivers and stream banks and on the hill slopes, moist deciduous forests with most of the species in the top storey shedding their leaves, are found. The top storey is composed of Hollock and Khokan (Duabanga grandiflora) among other species. Bamboos (Bambusa spp. and Dendrocalamus sp.) dominate the understorey. Climbers are also plentiful.

1.5.3 Miscellaneous forests

There are scattered patches of Khokan, Borpat, Hilika etc. of various sizes. Undergrowth is very dense and contains canes besides other species. Wherever the natural vegetation has been disturbed Mikenia cordata has invaded the area and prevented any other vegetation from coming up. No details of the temperate and alpine forests is currently available, because these areas are inaccessible.

1.6 Fauna of the Reserve

The subtropical humid climate and the virgin untouched forests of the area sustain the richest and most varied mamallian fauna, compared to any other area in India. The richness of Namdapha's faunal heritage is comparable to the best preserved tropical forests anywhere in the world. Of the 135 genera of land mammals recorded in India, 85 are represented here. Of the eleven Orders present Carnivora are the richest in genera with 23 Genera and 31 species. Namdapha i s the only reserve in the world to house four species of big cats- the tiger, the leopard, the snow leopard, and the clouded leopard. It should be noted that although the snow leopard and the clouded leopard have been recorded he re, sightings have been rare- less than five in the last decade. A list of mamallian species reported from Namdapha has been reported elsewhere[1]. Another attraction of Namdapha is as one of the last secure homes of India's only ape -the hooloc k gibbon (Hylobates hoolock). Mornings in Namdapha are punctuated with the intermittent callings of troops of gibbons, vying with each other in trying to shatter the silence of the morn. A most elaborate description of the song of the gibb ons has been provided elsewhere [2]. The only other member of the Primate family that we were privileged to observe, was the Capped Langur (Presbytis pileatus). On our first morning in Namdapha we were lucky enough to spot a troop of te n members. Their undersides were distinctly golden in color and they reminded us of the Golden Langur, a close relative of the Capped Langur. They watched us warily for some time, moving slowly among the branches. Once they felt that we were getting too close for comfort they disappeared instantly taking prodigious jumps leaving broken branches in their wake.

The profusion of squirrels of many kinds is a prime attraction too, especially when the sun is high and there is little other wildlife to be seen. We spent quite some time observing Malayan Giant Squirrels and Ho ary Bellied Himalayan Squirrels at Deban, feeding in the trees. However, our most exiting and rewarding interaction with the squirrels occurred quite unexpectedly at night at the Bulbulia watch tower.All of us, except Vineet were asleep. V ineet was keeping watch for whatever animal that cared to show itself. The time was about 2015 when Vineet saw a flying squirrel gliding and alighting on a tree barely 20 feet away. He woke us up immediately. There in the glare of our Commander torches, was a flying squirrel. It was lightly colored on the underside and dark-brown in color on the dorsal side. We clicked many photographs of it on the tree but unfortunately the illumination from the flash of ou r camera was not enough and good photographs (that would have meant positive identification ) could not be obtained. The squirrel was spotted two or three times in a couple of hours time. Later at or about 2200 Vineet observed an entire family of flying squirrels on a neighboring tree.

Our encounter with the big cats was restricted to spotting pug marks, first at Deban and then at Haldibari Camp. At both locations we found tiger pugmarks. We found no evidence of any other member belonging to the cat family alt hough Namdapha boasts of 4 big cats and a whole host of lesser ones such as golden cat, jungle cat, leopard cat, marbled cat etc.

Our tryst with the Civet family was more rewarding. Near Gibbons land Camp, close to the river, three of us saw a Civet like animal which was probably a Large Indian Civet. On the bus journey from Namchik Checkpoint to Miao Prof. M ahajan, saw an animal that closely resembled a Binturong, in the headlights of the bus.

The Deer family representatives at Namdapha did not give us the pleasure of a sighting, but the bark of the Barking deer was heard by us at most of our camps. During the night that we spent at Haldibari the barks were heard thr oughout the night. The Deer were probably alarmed by the unfamiliar human scent. At the Bulbulia Watch tower, Vineet heard a sound resembling the 'honk' sound of the Sambar but it was not repeated.

We were unable to record the presence of bears, mongooses, wild dogs, porcupines, gaur etc. that have been previously recorded in the areas of Namdapha that we visited. There are two main reasons for this: The first is the short duration of our visit and the second is our extremely limited experience in the field.

1.7 Suggestions for improving visitor facilities at Namdapha

The aim of improving visitor facilities in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve should be to strike a happy balance between the need to expose the maximum number of people to wildlife and the need to reduce the disturbance to the wildlife itself from to urists. Keeping this guiding principle in view, we feel that the following steps could be taken.

Useful Addresses:

  1. Field Director, Project Tiger, Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Miao, Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh.
  2. Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Dr. Salim Ali Chowk, Bombay 400023. Telegrams: HORNBILL Tel: (022) 243421, 243869, 244085
  3. Secretary (Political), Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar,791111, Arunachal Pradesh,
  4. Wildlife Secretary, Student's Gymkhana, Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Bombay 400076.
  5. The Resident Commissioner, Arunachal Bhavan, Kautilya Marg, New Delhi 110021. Tel: 3013915, 3012153
  6. Centre for Science and Environment, F-6, Kailash Colony, New Delhi 110048. Tel: 6433394, 6476401, 6470870
  1. Nair Satishchandran S, Namdapha Biosphere Reserve, Man and the Biosphere Programme,Dept. of Environment, Govt. of India, October 1991.
  2. Attenborough David, The Living Planet, Reader's Digest, 1989.
  3. Brochure, Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Forest Dept., Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh.
  4. Chatterjee A.K. and S.S Chandiramani, An Introduction to Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh India, Tiger Paper, Vol XIII: No 3, 1986.
  5. Dillon Ripley S and Ali S. , Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, BNHS, 1983.



  1. Ambrish Kumar 92005002 H8/201

  2. Yogesh Wadadekar 90011005 H4/124

  3. Sandeep Tambe 90010017 H4/119

  4. Hrishikesh Samant 92406001 H8/133

  5. Vineet Aggarwal 90707001 H4/120

  6. Deepak Das 93306009 H9/307

  7. Nandan S.R 92026005 H2/143

  8. Prof. A.S. Mahajan Dept. of Physics


Only species observed by us have been listed. The complete Checklist is much bigger and may be found elsewhere [1].


1. Himalayan Tree Pie
2. Grey Drongo
3. Pied Wagtail
4. Pintailed Green Pigeon
5. Great hill Barbet
6. Brainfever Bird
7. Black Kite
8. Scarlet Minivet
9. Chestnutbellied Nuthatch
10. Slatybellied Himalayan Forktail
11. Greater Racket Tailed Drongo
12. Yellowbellied Fantail Flycatcher
13. Streaked Spiderhunter
14. Bronzed Drongo
15. Red Headed Trogon
16. White Crested Laughing Thrush
17. Lesser Goldenbacked Woodpecker
18. Greybacked Shrike
19. Spotted Dove
20. Rufousnecked Hornbill
21. Blue Whistling Thrush
22. Crimsonbreasted Barbet
23. Browneared Bulbul
24. White Wagtail
25. Sultan Tit
26. Bluethroated Barbet
27. Little Forktail
28. Orange Fronted Chloropsis
29. Rufousbellied Niltava
30. Eastern Merganser
31. Brown Dipper
32. Longtailed Sibia
33. Whitelegged Falconet
34. Whitecapped Redstart
35. Plumbous Redstart
36. Whitebreasted Kingfisher
37. Large Yellownaped Woodpecker
38. Rufous Turtle Dove
39. Spurwinged Lapwing
40. Jungle Crow
41. Hill Myna
42. Haircrested Drongo
43. Large Goldenbacked Woodpecker


1. Hoolock gibbon
2. Capped Langur
3. Chestnutbellied Himalayan Squirrel
4. Hoarybellied Himalayan Squirrel
5. Malayan Giant Squirrel
6. Barking Deer (heard)
7. Flying Squirrel (Species unidentified)
8. Sambar (heard)


1. Greater Orange tip
2. Yellow Orange Tip
3. Plain Tiger
4. Common Gem
5. Yellow Jack Sailor
6. Yellow Jezebel
7. Common Tinsel
8. Painted Jezebel
9. Tree Yellow
10. Orange Staff Sergeant
11. Small Grass Yellow
12. Yellow Rajah
13. Common Jezebel
14. Redbase Jezebel
15. Common Emigrant
16. Large Yeoman
17. Angled Castor
18. Yerbur's Sailor
19. Commander
20. Common Map
21. Common Maplet
22. Tabby
23. Glassy Tiger
24. Silver Royal
25. Common Earl
26. Punchinello


1. Hollong (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus)
2. Hollock (Terminalia myriocarpa)
3. Mekai (Shorea assamica)
4. Jhutuli (Altinsia excelsa)
5. Wild Banana
6. Tree Ferns
7. Khokan (Duabanga grandiflora)

NOTE: The list presented above is merely a fraction of Namdapha's rich natural heritage that we were able to sample with the limited amount of time and knowledge available to us. It should be noted that we could learn so much in spi te of having no background in Life Sciences whatsoever. Students of Botany/Zoology would undoubtedly find it easy to multiply the list many fold. We would also state here that we saw more bird species than we identified. There were many re asons for this - wary birds, low light conditions, low magnification on our binoculars and thick vegetation.


Last modified on: Tue Apr 5 15:41:25 2005