Madhya Pradesh plans to increase bison population

April 14th, 2008 - 4:32 pm ICT by admin  

Bhopal, April 14 (IANS) The Madhya Pradesh Forest Department will move 20 bisons from the Kanha to Bandhavgarh national park as part of a long-term plan to boost the numbers of the endangered animal in the state, officials said here Monday. There are only 5,000-10,000 bisons left in India now. The new measure would ensure that its population is effectively spread out in the state so that they are not threatened in case of an outbreak of disease or hit by a natural calamity in one of the sanctuaries.

Bison, also called Gaur, is protected by Schedule - I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and is included in the Appendix I of the Conservation on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

According to the 1997 action plan of the International Union for Conservation of Nature for Asian Wild Cattle and Buffaloes, the estimated population of gaur in India is between 5,000 and 10,000.

“The number of the bisons is fast coming down. It has therefore become imperative to release these animals in other areas where they can multiply through natural breeding in a favourable environment,” Forest Minister Vijay Shah said in a statement.

“Since such a rehabilitation scheme for these animals is being initiated for the first time in the country, a team of forest officials is being sent to South Africa for training, which has the expertise and experience in the subject,” he said. The team will leave by the end of this month.

The five team members are Bandhavgarh park director Aseem Shrivastava, Kanha Tiger Reserve deputy director Shubh Ranjan Sen, Panna national park deputy director A.K. Nagar, veterinarian Sanjeev Gupta and Wildlife Institute of India’s (WII) Parag Nigam.

Shah said: “To start with, a herd of 20 bisons would be released in Bandhavgarh national park, in a joint effort of the forest department and the Conservation Corporation Of Africa, a South Africa-based tourism company.”

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