April 6, 2018 02:30 AM NPT
By: Amar Khadka
ITAHARI, April 6: Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR), which is the only natural habitat of the endangered wild buffaloes in Nepal, will begin the census of this rare species from mid-April.
Earlier, KTWR was the only place in Nepal where wild buffaloes were found. However, 13 wild buffaloes were translocated to Chitwan National Park (CNP) last year. However, four of the buffaloes shifted to CNP died by drowning, reasserting KTWR as the only suitable habitat for the wild buffaloes locally known as 'Arna'. KTWR has specifically established for the protection and conservation of these buffaloes years ago.
The census will be taken for three days from April 11. As per the census of April 11, 2016, there were 432 wild buffaloes in KTWR. These endangered wild buffaloes are found only in five countries in the world including Nepal. Nepal has the highest number of wild buffaloes after India. KTWR has been conducting this kind of census in an interval of every two years.
Shyam Kumar Shah, conservation officer of KTWR, informed that poaching and smuggling of wild buffaloes have been stopped after setting up of security posts and fencing around the KTWR area. “So, we are expecting a significant increase in the number of buffaloes this year,” said Shah.
KTWR started conserving wild buffaloes since 1976. In the beginning, there were only 76 buffaloes.
The average lifespan of a wild buffalo is 25 years and a female can give birth to five calves in her lifespan. It takes 10 to 11 months for a female buffalo to deliver a baby. Rampant increase in human population and various natural disasters like flood originating from the Koshi River have been a great threat to the habitat of wild buffaloes.