Wild buffalo conservation workshop, Nagpur, India (5-7 November 2012)
The State Governments of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, Wildlife Trust of India, Satpuda Foundation and the IUCN-SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group together hosted a workshop in Nagpur, India, 5-7 November 2012, to dicuss the future conservation of the critically endangered wild buffalo Bubalus arnee.
The wild buffalo population in the two states of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh is less than 50. The total world population of wild water buffalo maybe as low as 200, a result of interbreeding with domestic buffalo. The majority of the world's population is in Northeast India, mainly in Assam. In Central India, w wild buffalo are found in the Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve and the Indrawati Tiger Reserve in Chattisgarh, and in the proposed Kolamarka sanctuary in Maharashtra, which is connected to the Indrawati Reserve.
The workshop participants identified actions on how to protect the central Indian Wild buffalo population jointly across the two states. There was general agreement that there was a need to increase the size of the buffalo population, while consulting the Assam State Government. Also, the effective management of the new Kolamarka sanctuary was identified as a priority. An action plan titled ‘Status Review & National Recovery Programme for Wild Buffalo in India’ is under preperation. regarding the status and distribution of buffalo collected during the workshop will allow the IUCN Red List to be updated.
The workshop was generously supported by Government of Maharashtra, Wildlife Trust of India, IUCN SSC Sub-Committee for Species Conservation Planning, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Givskud Zoo, the Government of Chhattisgarh, the Satupda Foundation, and Earthwatch.
This workshop follows on from the Status Review meeting for wild cattle and buffaloes in 2011, which highlighted the need for action on this population of wild buffalo.The conservation planning processes of the IUCN SSC Sub-Committee for Species Conservation Planning laid the foundation for both meetings.
The meeting was reported by IUCN and received substantial attention by the Indian press (see below); India supports the last significant populations of the critically endangered wild buffalo.