Controversy shrouds breeding of wild buffaloes
   Date :13-May-2024

wild buffaloes 
Staff Reporter
A controversy has emerged surrounding the allocation of significant public funds for the maintenance and care of buffaloes brought from Assam for breeding purposes. Nitin Singhvi, a wildlife enthusiast from Raipur, has raised several concerning points regarding the rationale behind this initiative and its implications for conservation efforts in the region. Singhvi informed that two sub-adult buffaloes brought from the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam to the Barnawapara Sanctuary were kept in a kraal for two months after being captured. One was a male and the other a female. A budget of Rs 4,59,580 was allocated for providing water to them during their stay in the kraal. Six new coolers were arranged at Barnawapara and it was decided to install ACs and green nets to control temperature. In 2023, four more female buffaloes were brought from Assam, and Rs 1 lakh was allocated specifically for them, to maintain temperature by providing water. In 2020, a kraal was constructed in Assam, but the Forest Department does not have information about the expenditure incurred on it.
However, Rs 15 lakh was allocated for its maintenance in 2023. A total of Rs 58 lakh was allocated for the transportation of buffaloes from Assam to Chhattisgarh, on both occasions. From 2019-20 to 2020-21, Rs. 1.62 crore was allocated for the construction and maintenance of the Barnawapara breeding center. Additional amounts have been spent from 2021 onwards. However, the Central Zoo Authority has denied permission for the breeding center at Barnawapara. Documents reveal that in 23-24, Rs. 40 lakh were allocated for the food of six buffaloes at Barnawapara, including gram, khari, chuni, parakutti, dal, and grass. Nitin Singhvi stated there is only one purebred male buffalo named ‘Chotu’ left in Udanti Sitanadi Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, which is old and nearing the end of its life, aged about 24 years. The maximum lifespan of buffaloes is 25 years.
When it was not possible to breed Chotu, a plan was made for artificial insemination, for which lakhs of rupees have already been spent. Singhvi warned that this would be as suicidal as extracting semen from an old buffalo, which could even lead to Chotu’s death. If the buffaloes brought from Assam are released into the Udanti Sitanadi Tiger Reserve they may crossbreed with impure breed of buffaloes roaming there and they will not remain purebred. Singhvi questioned Forest Department whether the buffaloes were supposed to be held captive and breed for life at the Barnawapara Sanctuary, where continuous inbreeding from a single male may deteriorate the gene pool.