Northeast Today|July 2020
The origin of the feral horses of Dibru Saikhowa National Park (DSNP) dates back to the 1940s when Assam was a major base for the allied forces in the SouthAsian theatre of World War II.
Vikram Rajkhowa

The feral horses were brought by the British as cavalry horses for their soldiers stationed in and around Tinsukia District to fight back the advancing Japanese army. After the war got over, the British army instead of taking back the feral horses, released them in the wilderness. Thereafter, during the 1950’s Assam Earthquake, the Brahmaputra and its tributaries changed course cutting off the said area from the mainland, which further isolated the feral horses. The present-day feral horses living in the wild are descendants of the same warhorses brought by the British army. The feral horses survived World War II as well as the 1950’s Assam Earthquake, but today the feral horses along with other wildlife of Dibru Saikhowa National Park and its adjoining areas face a different threat, in the form of Oil and Gas mining.

On 27thMay, 2020 a gas and oil well of Oil India Ltd., maintained by John Energy Ltd., known as Baghjan-5 had a blowout leading tom massive release of gas, crude, and condensate into the environment. Thereafter, on 9th June, 2020, the said well-caught fire leading to large scale destruction in the adjoining areas, which still continues to burn. The Baghjan-5 well is around 300 meters from the boundary of the buffer forest and merely 900 meters from the core area of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park, the fourth largest protected area in Assam after Kaziranga and Manas National Parks and the Marat Longri Wildlife Sanctuary. The Baghjan-5 well is within the DibruSaikhowa Biosphere Reserve and the Maguri-Motapung Beel (wetland), which is an Important Bird Area (IBA) located next to the well is facing the brunt of the blowout and fire.


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July 2020