Toda buffalo conservation efforts get a boost
Efforts to conserve the Toda buffalo, a unique breed among the Indian breeds of buffaloes received a boost on Tuesday with a seminar on ‘Protection of Toda Buffaloes’ being organised under the aegis of the Department of Animal Husbandry. Presiding over the seminar The Nilgiris Collector P. Sankar underscored the role of the Toda buffalo in preserving the culture of the ancient community.
Pointing out that buffaloes touched practically every aspect of a Toda’s life, he said that it formed part of their religion.
Stating that without its buffaloes the Toda community will not be complete, Mr. Sankar regretted that the population of the buffaloes which was about 15,000 to 20,000 at one time has dwindled to less than 2000.
Adverting to the factors listed for the steep drop in population like difficulty in getting grass during the dry seasons, lack of steps to prevent diseases and attacks by carnivores, he said that steps should be taken to check them. Awareness about them should be enhanced among the Todas.
The District Forest Officer, The Nilgiris North, K. Soundarapandian said that efforts were on to find new grazing grounds for Toda buffaloes. The government has been requested to hike the compensation for death of cattle in wild animal attacks. The District Forest Officer, the Nilgiris South, C. Badhrasami, said that since yore the Todas have played an important role in preserving nature.
Stating that they have always been of help to the Forest Department, he said that the department has helped construct buffalo pens in two Toda habitations. Two more would be constructed.
The Chieftain of the Todas Manthesh Kuttan, the Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry T. Manoharan and the Head, Sheep Breeding Research Station N.Iyyu also spoke. The Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry R. Chelladurai welcomed the gathering.