Threats to the Deepor Beel

Deepor Beel, a Ramsar site near Guwahati in Assam, known for its fish and bird diversity and rich aquatic vegetation that attracts wild elephants, faces conservation threats from garbage dumping, quarrying, and the construction of a railway line, besides a smart city project.

Wild Asiatic elephants frolicking and foraging in Deepor Beel on the outskirts of Guwahati.


Egrets in flight over the “beel” (lake).

A pair of ruddy shelduck.

A flock of two male and three female cotton pygmy goose, or cotton teal.

Some parts of the hill landscape of the wetland are getting denuded owing to stone mining and earth excavation.

A flock of glossy ibis.

A grey heron.

Community fishing in the lake. A file picture. Unregulated fishing is threatening the lake’s ecosystem.

Once abundant in the wetlands of the north-eastern region, the giant water lily is now found only in a few wetlands because of large-scale harvesting of its seeds by destroying the plant. A villager turns the leaf to collect the seeds, in Deepor Beel.

According to the Assam Forest Department, the increased presence of human beings on the southern bank of the wetland may prevent the movement of wild elephants from the Rani and Garbhanga forests.

The wetland area has been suffering from environmental degradation due to continuous encroachment and waste dumping. The Guwahati Municipality dump yard, located at Boragaon, lies in the eastern corner of Deepor Beel.

According to experts, many fish species in Deepor Beel have become extinct and many are facing the threat of extinction because of continuous water pollution.

Further alteration of the “beel” landscape can cause flash floods.

The wetland ecosystem is disturbed by the railroad in its southern boundary.

An elephant crossing a railway track running along Deepor Beel.

An seriously injured baby elephant, which was knocked down by a train in Deepor Beel.

Two Asiatic elephants knocked down by a passing train.

Unplanned urbanisation around Deepor Beel has reduced the original water spread area.

(Right and far right) Rag pickers and a muster of greater adjutant storks at the garbage dumping site.

The rail and road corridors around Deepor Beel.

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Wild Asiatic elephants frolicking and foraging in Deepor Beel on the outskirts of Guwahati.
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