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Thread: Endangered wild buffalo herds spotted in Chhattisgarh

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    Default Endangered wild buffalo herds spotted in Chhattisgarh

    Endangered wild buffalo herds spotted in Chhattisgarh
    PTI | May 25, 2013, 11.29 PM IST

    RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh forest department has a reason to cheer as it has traced two herds of the endangered wild buffalo at a national park in the state raising hopes to increase its population.

    "With the inputs from local villagers, we were tracking wild buffaloes for the past several months in Indravati (national park in south Bastar) but we were not getting exact evidence of their presence. Due to LWE (left wing extremism) activities in the region, it was tough to search thoroughly in the deep forests," chief conservator of forest (CCF) Anup Kumar Shrivastava told PTI.

    "But few weeks back our trackers spotted two herds of wild buffaloes numbering 10 to 12 animals each," he said.

    Wild buffalo is Chhattisgarh's state animal, known locally as 'ban bhainsa' and look similar to domestic buffalo, albeit bigger than its domestic cousin. Wild Buffalo is a different species. Said to be the predecessor of today's domestic buffaloes, it is very active in nature and considered more resistant to natural adversities.

    The forest department is planning to translocate a female wild buffalo from the herds, spotted at Indravati national park in south Bastar, to Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary, where the numbers of the species facing extinction are as low as nine, with only one female for mating and reproduction.

    "In one of the herds, they have traced a calf and by that we are concluding that certainly a female wild buffalo is there. We have told the forest officials to locate them accurately and if the number of females is two or three, we would be translocating at least one to Udanti area for further mating and progeny," Shrivastava said.

    With a total area of about 2,799.08km, Indravati National Park is located in the Maoist-hit Bijapur district on the border of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Indravati is the last hope of finding genetically pure wild buffalo. They have been all but wiped away from the Udanti side. The wild buffaloes used to come from the Udanti wildlife sanctuary to the Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary (which has got in principle approval for tiger reserve status since the last couple of years). I am not sure what is the latest situation.

    The genetic purity of the wild buffaloes in the Udanti wildlife sanctuary is now suspect. The reason being they mate with the domestic buffaloes.

    Unfortunately due to terrorists we can't mount any expedition. When I was in Sunabeda, a few years back, a forester was kidnapped from the adjoining forest range. These maoists are now involved in drug traffic as well as in smuggling wildlife skins and body parts. I was not sure if many wild buffaloes would have escaped the gun of these terrorists. This news of wild buffalo sighting is indeed heartening.

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