The endangered Asiatic wild water buffaloes largely found in Central India are now on the radar of conservationists from across the world. The international and national experts in their four-day meet from Monday in Maharashtra is to draw up an action plan for their protection.
According to experts, the global population is estimated to be around 3,400 of which 3,100 or 91% are in India, mostly in Assam and few in Chattisgarh and Maharashtra. Wild buffaloes are presently
facing the threat of extinction in central India.
The workshop will be organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group, (IUCN sub-Committee for Species Conservation Planning), Satpuda Foundation and Wildlife Trust of India under the aegis of Forest Department of Maharashtra.
Dr James Burton, who is chair of Species Survival Commission (SSC) of Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group in IUCN and also worings for Earthwatch Institute in UK, is expected to attend the workshop. Other international experts including Dr Helen Senn a research Scientist, WildGenes Laboratory of Royal Zoological Society of Scotland,Edinburgh, UK, would also attend the meet to discuss the means of protection of these species
The species is Endangered (IUCN Red List) and is threatened by poaching, loss of habitat and genetic pollution by hybridizing with domestic stock. The latter also makes population estimates of wild buffalo difficult.
The event aims at bringing together the wildlife managers as well as the wildlife experts to discuss, design and implement an action plan for conservation of wild water buffaloes in central India. said Mr. S. W. H. Naqvi, Chief Wildlife Warden of Maharashtra state.
The participants would deliberate and exchange strategies that can protect the species in various states particularly in Chattisgarh, Maharashtra amongst others said Kishor Rithe, President of Satpuda Foundation and member of National Board for Wildlife who is instrumental to co-ordinate different agencies for organising this workshop.
The experts from Wildlife Trust of India, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF ,Ministry of Environment and Forest, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) would also attend