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The Secrets Of Wild Assam

December 2012: Reviewed by Ayesha Bapasola, Editorial Assistant, Sanctuary Asia:  Anwaruddin Choudhury’s most recent publication, The Secrets of Wild Assam, nicely ties up the themes of his prior books on the mammals, birds, and specific wildlife reserves of the lush northeast Indian state of Assam.

The Secrets of Wild Assam

This handy little compendium of natural history facts, wildlife experiences and conservation updates is interspersed with images and statistics from around the state, and I found it to be both interesting and informative.

It has detailed sections on the biodiversity of the state, as well as on its notable national parks – Kaziranga, Manas, and Dibru-Saikhowa, as well as the conservation pressures their denizens face despite their highly protected status. With a reputation like that of Choudhury, who has been a pioneer of wildlife and conservation research in Assam, and serves in reputable posts like that of the State Board for Wildlife, Pollution Control Board and several IUCN/SSC/BLI Specialist Groups, one can only expect that the book will be enlightening and accurate – an expectation which is met by the knowledge that Choudhury displays in the book; the man clearly knows the region and its inhabitants like the back of his palm.

Particularly fascinating to me were sections in the second half of the book – an optimistic glimpse into the future of the state in the form of discourses on topics like the Karbi Anglong region, which is described by the author as the wildlife capital of the state, and which, thanks to the author’s efforts as a field researcher, has been granted greater protection in the last decade. The success story of community driven conservation projects in the Baska region was both well-detailed and inspiring, while the author’s investigation of the fabled bird mystery of Jatinga is filled with suspense and pragmatism.

The book provides a holistic report and a faithful representation of the immensely biodiversity-rich state that is Assam. I would seriously recommend it to wildlife lovers who wish to get a feel of the state, as well as to tourists and amateur naturalists who are developing their understanding of ongoing protection efforts and flora and fauna of the region.

A gaggle of Bar-headed Geese lifts off from a waterbody. The birds winter in Assam and across North India. Photograph by: Anish Andheria.

The Secrets of Wild Assam

Author: Anwaruddin Choudhury

Publisher: Bhabani Books, 2012

Hardcover, full colour, 101 pages; Price: Rs. 850

First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia Vol. XXXII, No. 6, December 2012.


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