Madhya Pradesh: Security Of Reintroduced Bison A Challenge In Sanjay Tiger Reserve

Madhya Pradesh: Security Of Reintroduced Bison A Challenge In Sanjay Tiger Reserve

Officials concern over bovine moving into neighbouring state Chhattisgarh

Rajan RaikwarUpdated: Friday, June 28, 2024, 02:00 AM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A few days ago, the reintroduction of fifty Bison (Gaur) into Sanjay Tiger Reserve completed one year and it has proved successful. The population of Bison has increased with the birth of offspring.

But at the same time, monitoring has emerged as a major challenge as the Bison are moving into the areas of neighbouring state Chhattisgarh as well, making it an inter-state matter. Of the total area covered by the Bison, around 12 per cent area comes under Chhattisgarh.

When matter becomes an inter-state issue, monitoring of Bison gets complicated. The officials of Sanjay Tiger Reserve have to depend upon the counterparts in Chhattisgarh for monitoring and security of Bison.

Likewise, disease surveillance also turns out to be a major issue as while roaming in Chhattisgarh landscape, the chances of Bison coming into contact with local cattle cannot be ruled out. What kind of disease bison might catch from cattle and return to the tiger reserve cannot be gauged. If disease is of serious nature, then it could prove a bane to the entire Bison population in the reserve.

Moreover, all Bison are not collared hence their tracking is proving a big challenge before forest officials. A senior officer said that out of fifty reintroduced Bison, only ten to eleven Bison are collared. The Bison have formed small herds and are moving from one place to another.

Some herds have three to four collared Bison and some herds don't have even a single collared member. As Bison is a free long ranging animal and is moving up to 1000 sq km, therefore its tracking by foot is not possible.

More Bison needed

The Bison population was totally wiped out from the landscape of Sanjay Tiger Reserve after 1996-97. A senior forest officer said that a probable theory suggests that the Bison population perished due to disease breakout. As far as fifty reintroduced Bison project - being run along with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) - is concerned then 35 Bison were brought from Kanha and 15 from Satpura. Recently a review workshop was conducted in Sanjay Tiger Reserve which recommended that thirty to forty more Bison are needed to be reintroduced in the next three to four years for a viable population.

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