In News: the Indian government is considering a proposal from Colombo to export 6 gaurs, or Indian bisons, to Sri Lanka to revive the population of gavaras that have been extinct in the island since the end of the 17th century.
- It would be the first such agreement between India and Sri Lanka, and part of a global trend of “wildlife or zoological diplomacy”.
- The proposal is to transport at least six specimens, including a bull and three to five cows.
- The Sri Lankan Department of Zoological Gardens would carry out “captive breeding a herd of about a dozen specimens over a five-year period before trial reintroduction to the wild could take place in accordance with [internationally mandated] guidelines for reintroductions.
- The suggestion for the proposal came from world-renowned Sri Lankan conservationist Rohan Pethiyagoda, who was awarded the Linnean medal 2022 (U.K. -based equivalent of the Nobel prize for zoology) for his work on restoring fresh water and forest biodiversity.
- “Zoological diplomacy” has been practised worldwide, but there is a distinction between “gifts or loans” of animals in captivity to translocation and reintroduction of a species, particularly between neighbouring countries with similar eco-systems.
- Much depends on whether the conditions that caused the extinction have been removed, but reintroduction is known and has frequently been taken up between countries where the range is contiguous.
- In that sense, the animal plays a role as a zoological ambassador between nation states.
About Indian Gaur:
- The Indian gaur, a reclusive beast that lives in the wild, is the largest wild bovine that is a protected species and included in Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972
- IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable
- 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 domesticated form of the gaur is called gayal (Bos frontalis) or mithun
- 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.
- This came after instances of people being attacked or injured by the bison primarily in and around plantations came to light.
- Sri Lankan gaur, called the gavara in Sinhala, was once widespread and archaeological remains in ancient caves in the island included the remains of the animal.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Questions:
Q.1) Recently there was a proposal to translocate some of the lions from their natural habitat in Gujarat to which one of the following sites?(2017)
- Corbett National Park
- Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sariska National Park