Mammals in the Jeypore-Dehing forests, Assam by Kashmira Kakati

The Jeypore-Dehing Landscape is located in eastern or Upper Assam. It comprises three large blocks of forest (Jeypore, Upper Dehing West Block and Upper Dehing East Block) and several forest fragments. The reserve forests lie within a mosaic of oil and coal mining grants, tea plantations, agriculture and settlements. The forest type is lowland Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen forest (Dipterocarpus-Mesua) and together stretch over roughly 600 sq km. The landscape is part of the Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve and 111 sq km is protected as the Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary since 2004.

Forty-six species of mammals were documented here during a camera-trapping study conducted between 2007-2009, 30 species from camera-traps alone. Most of the carnivores (19 species in all) would have gone unrecorded if not for camera-traps. It also turned out that for the first time in the world, seven species of cats were recorded from just one site.

Here are pictures from the exercise, and the reason why India’s many reserve forests deserve more research and conservation attention.

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