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Kaziranga Water Buffalo

Kaziranga wild buffalo

The wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) also addresses as Asian buffalo and Asiatic buffalo in South-East Asia. The species is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986 as the remaining population totals less than 4,000, with an estimate of fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. About 91% of their world population lives in India. The slightly smaller African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is not closely related with the water buffalo. If we look them from a distance, they looks like our domesticated buffalo by observing them closely we can find them heavier and have long horns in compare to domestic buffalo. Earlier they were spread over Northern, Eastern & Central India but now their population is concentrated in East & Central India. Kaziranga is the best place to see this endangered species in their natural habitat.

Morphology and anatomy
Wild water buffalos are both diurnal and nocturnal. Their average age in 30 years and can even live longer in captivity. Their skin color is ash gray to black. Both sexes carry horns that are heavy at the base and widely spreading up to 2 m (79 in) along the outer edges, exceeding in size the horns of any other living bovid. There tail tip is bushy and hooves are large and splayed. They are larger and heavier than domestic buffalo, there weigh could be between 750 to 1,200 kg, there head-to-body-length is 235 to 300 cm around 95 to 120 inches. Tail of Asiatic Buffalo is 50 to 100 cms long. The moderately long, coarse and sparse hair is directed forward from the haunches to the long and narrow head. This species is sleeker, heavier and more robust than the tame buffaloes. Their gestation period is 10 to 11 months. Usually one calf is delivered at at time but it can be two also. When new calf born it is of light yellow colour and legs are of cream-white colour till knees. Horns or the bulls are long, flat,massive and triangular at section. Shape of horn is semi-circular and goes in upward direction. Male horn is bigger than female member. Their scents are well developed and hearing capacity is good but eye-sight is average or moderate.
Kaziranga Wild Buffalo classification
Binomial name
Bubalus arnee

Group of wild buffalo are commonly seen as grazing in marshy & grassland areas of Kaziranga national park. They eat herbs, fruits, and bark as well as browsing trees and shrubs, crops including rice, sugar cane, and jute. They usually grazes, feeding mainly on true grasses when available, such as scutch grass and sedges. When group moves close to human habitation, they can be seen consuming rice, sugarcane, jute etc. and causes often considerable damage. Here in Kaziranga presence of Brahmaputra river and the river valley area offers perfect area for feeding and surviving comfortably. Due to good rainfall and flooding Kaziranga remain green with plenty of grasslands which is good for their survival.

Territory & Herd
Wild Buffalo is a terrestrial animal. Wild Buffalo can not be categorized into diurnal or nocturnal as they remain active in day and night at per condition. Usually they can be seen in group of 20 to 30 buffaloes grazing together. One group needs 150 to 1000 hectare areas for grazing, resting, drinking and roaming. Several groups can be seen together often in a resting area where their strength could go up to 500 wild buffaloes. Here we can see groups divided as per gender. Usually senior female member of group leads the group despite of presence of bulls.

Habitation & Behavior
Wild buffalo are terrestrial animal. They need tall grass jungles, swamps, marshy areas, water holes for best survival. They can be seen in such places of Kaziranga national park. Wild buffalo usually seen grazing in early morning and later evening hours. They can even go on grazing after sunset due to which they are put in both category diurnal and nocturnal. In day time they prefer to rest in water holes or shallow muddy holes. Groups are of 20-30 members and often lead by senior female member. We can also see group based of gender discrimination i.e. female groups & male bulls group that met during their mating season that usually prevails from October to November. However, mating may be observed in any time of year. Wild buffalo gains sexual maturity on reaching the age of 18 year or above. Conflicts for sake of mating is a common feature and could turn into deadly flight. Scents and hearing capacity of these buffaloes is well developed but eyesight is weak. They are not wandering animal by in dry season may move from one area to another. They don't even hesitate to go close to human habitation and often enter into cultivated fields. Males are more aggressive than female and sometime even attack without any provocation depending upon they mood. Female show aggressive behavior when she is with calf and can even face tiger in boldly way. Their paring season is end of rainfall.

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