The Manas Tiger Reserve is located in the foothills of the Bhutan Himalayas in four districts of Bodoland Territorial Council, Assam, India.
As per Govt. notification No. FRW. 25/2008/36 dated 30.05.2008, the boundary description of Manas Tiger Reserve extends from the point where the Sankosh river cuts the Indo-Bhutan International Boundary, eastwards to the point where the tri radiate pillar indicates the Assam, Bhutan and the Arunachal Boundaries and from that point eastward and then westwards along the southern boundaries.
Manas (2837.10 sq. km.) was the 6th Biosphere Reserve to be declared by Govt. of India in 1989 (first in Assam).
The Manas National Park is part of the core area of the Manas Tiger Reserve (1973), Manas Biosphere Reserve (1989) and the Chirang- Ripu Elephant Reserve (2003). The chronicle of conservation history dates back to 1905 with the creation of a Proposed Reserve Forest called the North Kamrup Reserve Forest. Thereafter Manas Reserve Forest came into being in 1907, which was declared a protected area closed to hunting and killing of wildlife in 1908. Further, in 1917 the North Kamrup and eastern part of Manas Reserve Forest were notified as a “Protected Region” and hunting, shooting, and trapping of animals was prohibited, except fishing for sport. In 1924 the area of the Protected Region was increased to 360 sq kms and subsequently, this area was declared as “Manas Wildlife Sanctuary” in 1928. Through further additions to its area in 1951 and 1955 the geographical area of the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Manas Game Sanctuary) became 391 sq. kms.
Manas Tiger Reserve, one of the first batch of nine Tiger Reserves declared on 1st April 1973 under the aegis of “Project Tiger” had a core area of 391 sq. km. with legal status as sanctuary declared in 1928. The erstwhile Manas Wildlife Sanctuary encompassed part of Monas RF (120.00 sq. km.) and North Kamrup RF including 1st addition to NKRF (271.02 sq. km). Subsequently, the area was extended to 500.00 sq. km. by the inclusion of three more Reserved Forests contiguous to the core area and declared as Manas National Park vide Govt. notification no. FRW.55/86/64, dated 7th September 1990.
In 1985, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (391 sq. kms.) was inscribed in the list of World Heritage Site (UNESCO), a site of outstanding universal value, under the criteria: N (ii), (iii) and (iv). In 1992 the UNESCO-IUCN reviews the status of the Site and decides to tag “in danger”, that is the “World Heritage Site in Danger” due to damages occurred to Park infrastructure and other properties during Bodo agitation since 1988. However, in June 2011, Manas regained its original status of “World Heritage Site” as result of collective efforts of state government, the Bodoland Territorial Council, Park authorities, NGOs and local communities.
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary was subsequently upgraded to National Park status with an area of 500 sq. kms. on 7th September 1990, by the inclusion of Panbari RF (16.30 sq. kms.), Kokilabari RF (15.11 sq. kms.) and Kahitama RF (77.59 sq. kms.) in the eastern sector. In 2003, the Manas National Park became a part of Chirang–Ripu Elephant Reserve (2600 sq. km.) under the umbrella of ‘Project Elephant’.
Manas National Park
The Manas National Park which is the core area of Manas Tiger Reserve stretches over a length of 43 kms from west to east and 13 kms (on average) from north to south. The total area of the core area is 500 km2.
The total area of Manas National Park is of 500 sq. km. The break up of the area is given below:
Table 1.2: Area of Manas National Park:-
|Sl. No.||Status||Area in sq. km.|
|1||Manas Wildlife Sanctuary||391.00|
All of the above Wildlife Sanctuary & Reserve forests areas are declared as Manas National Park vide Govt. notification no. FRW.55/86/64, dated 7th September 1990. The boundary of Manas NP is clearly distinguished with the Manas River to the north demarcate the international border with Bhutan, to the south by thickly populated villages and to the east and west by the forest reserves.