The last of the wild

A trip through Kaziranga is both exciting and sad. In the short period of two days I was excited by the fact that I could photograph and see so many different species. Sadly, many of these were vulnerable and even endangered in the rest of the world. Among the endangered species was the wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee), whose photos you see above. This is not the same as the domestic species, Bubalus bubalis. During the ice ages, B. arnee roamed over all of Europe and Asia. The dry climate after the ice-ages restricted them India, south and south-east Asia. Now, they are extinct in Bangladesh, Malayasia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The last refuge of these ancient animals are the sanctuaries of north-eastern India. IUCN accepts counts which may put the current population at about 4000 individuals. Kaziranga counted about 1400 in its last wildlife census.

I saw this herd resting in an open meadow in the mid-morning. Luckily, there was a Varuna tree (Crataeva nurvala) in flower just behind them, providing a nice completion to the photo. Like elephants, the herds are led by an older female.

The next day was my last sighting of wild water buffalos. They were busy grazing in a patch of tall grass next to a stream. Flat, well-drained land is their preferred habitat. When I was a child they would still make long journeys across the country. With the urbanization of India, those days are long gone. The photo which you see above captures the sight which remains in my memory: the sun setting finally on herds which evolved in the times of the Mastodon.

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

17 thoughts on “The last of the wild”

  1. Even in Berlin you can find these animals in Spring and Summer at 2 natural reserve areas (Tegeler Fliess and Tieferwerder Wiesen). Not the only ones in Germany but more unusual in general of course.

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      1. In Berlin kept in the natural reserves since 2011 for keeping the land open (avoiding bushes and trees to grow), in the countryside cultivated for production of Mozzarella cheese. Not many of course!

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      1. Oops! Hope you like what you saw. I am yet to write about our trip. We were on a 15 day road trip in Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya so I am drafting the itinerary now. Then will get to Kaziranga too 🙂 Thank you for checking though.. Appreciate it!

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