Indian Bison spotted in Kagaznagar forests

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Indian Bison
The Indian Bison recorded through a CCTV camera trap set up by officials of the Forest Department in Penchikalpet Forest Range.

Kumram Bheem Asifabad: The undisputedly favourable living conditions in the dry deciduous forests of Kagaznagar Forest Division do not only offer shelter to a host of carnivores including endangered tigers and omnivores but also to a wide range of herbivores.

In the latest discovery, the Indian Bison or Gaur was recorded through a CCTV camera trap in the region’s wild after a long time, bringing cheer to officials of the Forest Department.

“An Indian Bison was recorded in the Penchikalpet Forest Range under Kaghaznagar division on March 19 for the first time in recent years. It was a male loner who seems to have migrated from either Maharashtra or Chhattisgarh by crossing the Pranahita river, a tributary of Godavari,” Kagaznagar Forest Divisional Officer A Narasimha Reddy told Telangana Today.

Another Indian Bison was found to have been inhabiting the forests of Malini in Sirpur (T) range three years back as per official records, he recalled.

So far, herbivores such as spotted deer, nilgai, sambar, chowsingha and others occupy the forest that extends along the Pranahita river and its tributary Peddavagu. The latest incident of straying by the Indian Bison indicates the rich vegetation. Officials observed that the dense forests coupled with streams, hills and fodder could be driving the herbivores to enter these forests.

A Schedule – I animal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and classified as Vulnerable (VU) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Gaurs inhabit forest hills and grassy areas. They are mostly confined to evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and dwell in the moist deciduous forests, but may also be spotted in these forests at the periphery of their range, wildlife activists said.

The Indian Bison is a social animal and tends to live in small groups. It feeds on grass, herbs, shrubs and leaves. They also consume coarse dry grass and bamboo. Their average lifespan is 25 to 35 years and the weight of an adult male is between 600 kg and 1,500 kg, while an adult female weighs somewhere between 400 kg and 1,000 kg.

The forests of Kagaznagar division are home to rare striped hyenas, leopards, ungulates, rusty spotted cats, sloth bears, porcupines, wild sheep and wild boars. They often record the migration of endangered big cats belonging to Thadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve of Maharashtra and Indravati Tiger Reserve of Chhattisgarh. Remarkably, there is no poaching of tigers as the locals do not harm these carnivores.