Reintroduction of Gaur (Bos gaurus) in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, Central India
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR), situated in Central India, supported a small population of gaur (38 individuals) till 1995. This population disappeared between 1995 and 1998 due to unknown reasons. In a joint collaborative initiative 19 gaur (14 females, 5 males) were captured from Kanha Tiger Reserve (from two different herds) and translocated to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in January 2011. In March 2012, 31 additional gaur (22 females and 9 males) were translocated from Kanha Tiger Reserve (from six different herds) and to Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
To study the home range, habitat use and food habits of reintroduced gaurs,27 gaur (6 males and 21 females) were fitted with radio collars (GPS/Argos/VHF). The collared animals are being tracked intensively through “Homing in” and “Triangulation” techniques by two researchers, B. Navaneethan and Manas P. Manjrekar from Wildlife Institute of India. Till March 2012 the reintroduced gaurs have ranged over an area of 268.7 km2. The annual home ranges of the males and females were 254.4 km2 and 200.4 km2 respectively. The summer (April 2011-June 2011) home ranges for males and females were 231.5 km2 and 161.2 km2, respectively. In Monsoon and Post-Monsoon (July 2011 to October 2011) the home ranges of males and females were 110.6 km2 and 135.7 km2 respectively. In winter (November 2011 to February 2012) the home ranges of males and females were 98.5 km2 and 152.5 km2 respectively. The group size was found fluid ranging from 1 to 19 individuals. The two gaur bulls were found solitary on many occasions but joined the family groups after 2-3 days. In total 68 plant species were recorded as food plants of gaur which include 28 trees, 6 shrubs, 10 herbs, 21 grasses and 3 climbers. Among the initial reintroduced stock there were three mortalities, two natural deaths (both adult females) and one sub-adult female was predated by tiger. One female went missing from the park. There were three natalities, two from the first reintroduced stock and one from the second stock of animals. At present there are 50 gaur in BTR.