Hand-raised wild buffalo released in Assam forest

Kaziranga, (Assam) April 27 (IANS) A male wild buffalo was returned to the forest Saturday after over two years of human care, a wildlife official said.

The buffalo had been found as a week-old calf separated from its mother near the Rajiv Gandhi National Park at Orang.

It was moved to Laokhowa Burasapori Wildlife Sanctuary from the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI)-run Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) where it was hand-reared.

It was brought to CWRC by the Assam Forest Department in December 2010.

It was moved from CWRC to a boma (enclosure) in Laokhowa Burasapori Wildlife Sanctuary to begin its acclimatization as part of its soft release.

“We shifted it to Laokhowa Burasapori. Kaziranga is a high tiger density area, so there was a risk for the buffalo’s survival. But in Laokhowa, the threats are lesser for the animal,” said N.K. Vasu, Director, Kaziranga National Park.

“During the early 1980s, the rhino population was wiped out in Laokhowa Burasapori due to various factors. This buffalo is the first major conservation initiative after 1983. it will help us enhance the buffalo population of Laokhowa Burasapori,” said Shiv Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer of the Laokhowa.

“We have hand-reared and moved three wild buffalos from CWRC to Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary,” said Rathin Barman, project adviser, WTI.

The wild buffalo (Bubalus arnee) is an endangered animal, with just 4,000 in the wild.

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