Endangered Wild-Buffalo of Chhattisgarh Cloned at NDRI

4th January, 2015, Karnal

Clone of the only wild-buffalo in Chhattisgarh, DeepashaA clone of the only wild-buffalo in Chhattisgarh in semi-captivity has been produced through the ‘Hand-guided Cloning Technique’ at ICAR- National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal. The female calf was named ‘Deepasha’ and was born on December, 12, 2014.  The calf was born by normal parturition, and its weight at the time of birth was 32 kg. She is keeping good health.

Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR congratulated the team and said this novel achievement of producing cloned calf from endangered species has open the new windows of applications of cloning technology.

Chhattisgarh’s Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary was left with a lone female wild buffalo popularly called as ‘Asha’. The lone female bred with males during several natural-mating has delivered male calves only and is a cause of concern for the state, as nobody wants that this buffalo gets eliminated from the system due to aging or other risks. Through their technical partners Wildlife Trust of India, they approached NDRI for assistance by initiating research to clone their wild animals. NDRI accepted the challenge of exploring the totally unknown path of research with their partial funding from the state and support in sampling the tissue from the animals.

The team of the scientists involved in the production of this cloned calf was led by Dr. A.K. Srivastava, Director and VC, NDRI and included Dr. S.K. Singla, Dr. M.S. Chauhan, Dr. R.S. Manik, Dr. P. Palta, Dr. S.S. Lathwal, Anuj Raja and Amol Sahare.

Conservation of endangered species through cloning has great potential. As our domestic buffalo has evolved from wild-buffalo, we may need to extract few traits of biological and/or economic importance from these wild animals in future, said Dr. Srivastava.

An in-situ breeding programme to save wild buffaloes from becoming extinct is going on for the past many years in Udanti. Chhattisgarh’s state animal, known locally as ‘ban bhainsa’, is similar to the bison in appearance but is a different species and it is their pride animal. The species is in the Red List of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is also a Schedule I animal under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

(Source: NDRI, Karnal)