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June 14, 2015 00:10


Buffalo conservancy area at the mouth of the Yakut Buotama River is a breeding base of enormous shaggy forest bulls who returned to their prehistoric homeland from Canada.

“Ust-Buotama” breeding nursery area welcomes visitors with a sign with the strict reminder: “Wood buffaloes are of huge state value”. This is it: wood buffalo, mammoth’s coeval, is an endangered species listed in the International Red Book. Yakutia is a historical (or, rather, prehistoric) homeland of these animals that migrated from here to the North American continent in ancient times.

Today there are no more than four thousand wood buffaloes in the world, and all of them, not counting the pets of “Ust-Buotama” are concentrated in Canada. The buffalo conservancy area created on the territory of the “Lena Pillars” National Nature Park in Khangalassky District, Yakutia, is the “alternate airfield” for the entire population. The skull of the most ancient buffalo found in Yakutia belonged to the beast that lived here thirty thousand years ago. Yakut buffaloes went extinct about five thousand years ago, and those who moved to North America later divided into two subspecies - wood and plains buffaloes.

The first thirty wood buffaloes (fifteen pairs of young males and females) were brought to Yakutia from the Canadian national park “Elk Island” in 2006. Five years later the second batch came - thirty more animals. In 2008 the first six calves were born in “Ust-Buotama”, and in 2012 the new calves were born from this progeny, that means that their adaptation was successful.

The delivery of the third batch of buffaloes was carried out in March 2013. The staff of the nursery area say that about a dozen calves are born in “Ust-Buotama” every year. Now Yakutia has 122 forest buffaloes, and they seem to have fully adapted – the proof of this is at least the fact that the natives of the nursery area are stronger and larger than their Canadian relatives.

The guests of the buffalo conservancy area must remember that the animals are herbivorous, but truly wild beasts, and should not hope for a close familiarity with a huge shaggy ancient bull, for it is extremely cautious and fearful. People move through the nursery area only together with the staff on special routes.

For the sake of safety – both your own and buffalo’s – you must observe some simple rules. First, remember that wood buffaloes are very shy and are capable of unpredictable reactions, so you cannot bring the dogs to the nursery area and take any actions that may disturb the animals.

Do not feed, tease or scare them. You cannot go beyond the barriers and fences, moreover to put or seat children onto them. It is important to keep quiet. The photos of buffaloes can only be made by hand without a tripod, without flashes, and only with the permission of the nursery area staff.

Do not throw any objects in cages for attracting the buffalo’s attention. You can only walk on the special routes, accompanied by staff of the reserve. If the buffalo comes to you very close, it is strictly forbidden to touch and stroke it - it is dangerous.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Yakutia Ust-Buotama    

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