Conservation breeding of Indian bison to start soon

The gaur breeding project will see zoos working in coordination.

The gaur breeding project will see zoos working in coordination.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

CZA programme aims to safeguard endangered species with captive breeding

The conservation breeding of gaur (bos gaurus) or Indian bison, an endangered species, is expected to take off soon at the Mysuru zoo, which is the coordinating zoo for the conservation breeding programme (CBP) announced by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). The process of identifying the animal from the wild for captive breeding complying with the guidelines was remaining and the zoo was keenly awaiting to give the much-needed push to the national programme.

The zoo’s facility at Koorgalli on the city outskirts which houses the rescue, conservation and rehabilitation centre is the site for the conservation breeding. Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai and Bondla Zoo in Goa are supporting Mysuru zoo in the ambitious programme.

Once the animal pairs (founders) from the wild are identified for breeding, they would be taken to Mysuru and the participating zoos for launching the programme.

It’s a CZA programme and the approval for locating the wild species has to come from the Centre, which was expected to ask the Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka to identify the healthy wild breeding species for the project. There are many formalities that need to be completed since the animals had to be sourced from the wild – may be from one of the national parks such as Bhadra, Dandeli or others.

The CBP has identified about 73 species for captive breeding in the selected zoos with 35 species getting priority with financial assistance. The captive breeding of some species has taken off in some Indian zoos.

The Mysuru zoo was identified for the programme since it has to its credit many successes of captive breeding of animals such as tigers and giraffes.

Zoo Authority of Karnataka Member Secretary B.P. Ravi told The Hindu the zoo had received in-principal approval and the wild stock of the species had to be identified for starting the programme.

Habitat loss was among the reasons cited for the wild animals becoming endangered. The zoos also have to play the role of conserving the populations in the wild in addition to safeguarding those in their captivity.

Breeding lion-tailed macaque on the cards

Even in the case of captive breeding of lion-tailed macaque (LTM), reckoned to be most endangered species, which is also among the list of animals identified for the conservation breeding programme, the Mysuru zoo was awaiting ‘founders’ (species from the wild) for expediting the breeding.

The Chennai zoo is the coordinating zoo for the LTM breeding while the Mysuru and Thiruvananthapuram zoos are assisting it. Only 51 LTMs are found to be in captivity in the Indian zoos (as per the CZA statistics as on 2017-18).

ZAK member secretary B.P. Ravi said 60% of the financial assistance for the breeding programme comes from the Centre while the remaining has to be borne by the State for establishing the infrastructure necessary for the programme. “Even the rescued or injured species can be used for the captive breeding. We need to build enclosures and other facilities from the funds sourced for the programme,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:23:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/conservation-breeding-of-indian-bison-to-start-soon/article30925128.ece

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