Heinen, J.T. 2002.
Phenotypic and behavioural characteristics used to identify wild buffalo Bubalus bubalis from feral backcrosses in Nepal
Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 99:173-183.
All remaining populations of the wild Asiatic buffalo are known to cross breed with domestic and feral forms living in the vicinity of the handful of reserves in which the species is found. Censuses of these animals done in various places in India and Nepal have been critized because researchers have used various criteria to differentiate wild buffalo versus feral backcrosses, thus rendering population estimates unreliable. Due to the highly endangered status of the wild buffalo, there is an ur gent need for a set of criteria that can be applied more broadly to distinguish wild from feral forms. This paper describes the phenotypic and behavioural characteristics used to census wild buffalo and feral backcrosses in Kosi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal , which contains the last Nepalese population of the species. It is hoped that other researchers in the region may find these field characteristics useful in identifying wild stocks in South and Southeast Asia , where they are still thought to occur. Ideally, in all cases, detailed genetic studies are needed to plan managerial interventions such as translocation projects. Given the expense of such studies, it is suggested that translocations can be planned using consistent field identification criteria, until such time as more detailed genetic work is done.
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