Wild Water Buffalo, Central Zoo, Kathmandu
The buffalo is used in many parts of Nepal’s agricultural areas. They are also common as a beast of burden throughout Asia. Very few – perhaps as few as 4000 individuals – remain as truly wild animals. Throughout my travels in Thailand and Nepal I witnessed the use of this animal on farms, but farmers are turning to what one guide called “Japanese buffaloes” (tractors made in Japan).
There are small populations in the wild throughout its former range, and can now be found in India, Bhutan, Vietnam and Thailand. It has been widely domesticated and feral populations have established in many places. One of these populations includes a huge feral presence in northern Australia where they have been responsible for much environmental damage. In recent years there has been an active eradication programme. Over recent decades large numbers have been shot from helicopters and the population is now under control with only small pockets surviving.