Wild Buffalo

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Context: Five female wild buffaloes to be translocated to Raipur to revive the waning population of the endangered species in central India. 

Introduction:

  • The wild water buffalo, also called Asian buffalo, Asiatic buffalo and wild Asian buffalo, is a large bovine native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • It has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986, as the remaining population totals less than 4,000.
  • It is listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It is a state animal of Chhattisgarh.
  • The global population of wild buffalo has been estimated at 3,400 individuals, of which 3,100 (91%) live in India, mostly in Assam.
  • The wild water buffalo is the probable ancestor of the domestic water buffalo

Found in: The wild water buffalo occurs in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, and Cambodia, with an unconfirmed population in Myanmar. It has been extirpated in Bangladesh, Laos, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. It is associated with wet grasslands, swamps, and densely vegetated river valleys.

In India, the species is largely restricted to in and around Kaziranga, Manas and Dibru-Saikhowa National Parks, Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary and Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary and in a few scattered pockets in Assam; and in and around Daying Ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh. A small population survives in Balpakram National Park in Meghalaya, and in Chhattisgarh in the Indravati National Park and the Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary. This population might extend into adjacent parts of Orissa.

Threats: 

  1. interbreeding with feral and domestic buffalo in and around protected areas;
  2. hunting, especially in Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar;
  3. habitat loss of floodplain areas due to conversion to agriculture and hydropower development;
  4. degradation of wetlands due to invasive species such as stem twiners and lianas;
  5. diseases and parasites transmitted by domestic livestock;
  6. interspecific competition for food and water between wild buffalo and domestic stock.



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