Sri Lanka has recently asked India to translocate 6 Indian bisons or gaurs to reintroduce them in the island after three centuries.

 

About the Indian Bisons

  • Indian Bisons are one of the largest extant bovines. It is one of the largest species among the wild cattle, reaching a shoulder height of up to 220 cm.
  • Habitat — They are found on the forested hills and grassy areas of south to south east Asia.
  • Distribution —
      • There are about 13,000 to 30,000 gaurs in the world with approximately 85% of the population present in India. It is also found in Burma and Thailand.
      • The Western Ghats in southern India constitute one of the most extensive extant strongholds of gaur, in particular in the Wayanad – Nagarhole – Mudumalai – Bandipur complex.
      • The first-ever population estimation exercise of the Indian gaur carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division in February 2020 estimated around 2,000 Indian gaurs to be inhabiting the division.
      • The gaur is the State Animal of Goa and Bihar.
  • Conservation —
      • It is a protected species and included in Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
      • Listed as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
      • It is listed in CITES Appendix I.

 

Wildlife or Zoological Diplomacy

It means the translocation and reintroduction of a species, particularly between neighbouring countries with similar eco-systems. It is considered as a potent tool in engaging different nations.

 

Examples

  • Recently India translocated cheetahs from Namibia.
  • American bison herds were supplemented with animals from Canada after the U.S. herds were almost all wiped out.
  • The U.K. has recently introduced the European bison (Wisent) after an estimated 10,000 years in June 2022.
  • Israel has for decades pursued reintroductions, including of Persian fallow deer. Arabian oryx and other species have been released into the Negev desert.
  • South Africa has recently used the export of cheetahs to other African countries as a diplomatic tool during the post-apartheid era.