Asiatic water buffalo
Asiatic water buffalo in Assam. Image credit - kaziranganationalparkassam.in

The Chhattisgarh government has approached its counterpart in Assam for translocation of Asiatic water buffaloes.

Although the Asiatic water buffalo is the state animal of Chhattisgarh, yet the number of the animal is decreasing in Chhattisgarh due to various reasons and it is in near extinction state now in Chhattisgarh.

“We have received a letter from the Chhattisgarh government requesting us for translocation of the water buffaloes, which are found in abundance in Assam. However, there is no protocol to translocate the animal which has not been undertaken so far. Lack of a protocol to traslocate the animal is hampering the project,” said a senior official of the Assam Forest department.

The Forest department has also convened a meeting a few months back involving NGOs working in wildlife sector and sought their help regarding the project.

However, no fresh meeting has taken place so far and the issue is yet to be discussed.

“We were invited by the Assam Forest department to discuss the issue of translocation of some Asiatic water buffaloes to Chhattisgarh. The translocation of water buffalo is a sensitive issue as no one had undertaken translocation of water buffaloes. Lot of issues needed to be finalised before undertaking the translocation,” said Dr. Rathin Barman, deputy director, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Centre-in-charge of the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) at Kaziranga.

“We do not know as of now as to how the animal will react because it has to travel over 1,800 kms to reach Chhattisgarh from Assam,” he said adding that Assam has a population of over 3000 Asiatic water buffaloes including a major population in the Kaziranga National Park.

“However, nothing has been decided on the translocation yet. The Forest department has consulted us considering our expertise in translocation of rhinos. We have neither said ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ to the proposal of the Forest department,” Barman said.

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