Clear photographs have emerged of a herd of wild water buffaloes in the Kolamarka area of Gadchiroli district, infusing new hopes of saving the animal usually found in central India from getting extinct.
It is widely believed that only one female is remaining in Chhattisgarh, a reason why measure like cloning is being put in place. “Our photographs taken between January and May have shown presence of 3-5 females,” Deputy Conservator of Forests Prabhunath Shukla told The Indian Express.
“I can see at least four females in a herd photographed in Gadchiroli as evident from lack of testicles,” John Mathew, expert member of National Biodiversity Authority confirmed while talking to The Indian Express. “It is an extremely exciting spectacle as these animals are absolutely straight and wild without any (gene) corruption as there are no domesticated buffaloes anywhere close to them,” Mathew added.
Mathew also refers to the ones in Assam which he says are corrupted due to breeding with domesticated animals.
There are at least two herds in the Kolamarka area of Gadchiroli’s Aheri tehsil. Kolamarka was declared a Conservation Reserve about two years ago. But due to the presence of Naxal elements, government machinery can hardly penetrate to track them down. Many independent missions to actually see and photograph them have failed.
The large herd was accidently captured by forest staffers while monitoring sensors used to track the giant squirrel, which is Maharashtra’s state animal.
Shukla engaged a team of locals provided with a camera to do the job. The team managed to photograph a herd in Chitveli-Garewada. Some photographs could be taken by a forest guard too from Penkasa-Tirkut area.