Tami Nadu - Wildlife of Tamil Nadu - Manjampatti White Bison at Tamil Nadu

Manjampatti White Bison at Tamil Nadu

Manjampatti White Bison are a type of Gaur, காட்டேணி kaatteni,or kaattu erumai meaning “forest buffalo”) occasionally seen in the Manjampatti Valley, a 110.9 km2 (42.8 sq mi) protected area at the eastern end of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park in Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu, South India.

Gaur were previously numerous all over the Palani Hills, but declined greatly during the 20th century. Now they are protected and their numbers are increasing substantially. The endangered Gaur are the heaviest and most powerful of all wild cattle. Males have a highly muscular body, with a distinctive dorsal ridge, forming a very powerful appearance. Females are substantially smaller, and their dorsal ridge is less developed. Adult body Length is 2.5 meters (8 ft) to 3.6 meters (12 ft) cm / 8.3-12 ft. Shoulder height is 170 centimeters (66.9 in) to 220 centimeters (86.6 in). Average males stand about 180 centimeters (70.9 in) to 190 centimeters (74.8 in) at the shoulder. Females are about 20 centimeters (7.9 in) less. Tail length is 70 centimeters (27.6 in) to 100 centimeters (39.4 in).

Manjampatti White Bison at Tamil Nadu

Historic references

There are several herds of Gaur (popularly called bison) in Manjampatti Valley. Earlier the area was well known for Manjampatti White Bison.[6] The Manjampatti valley of Udumalpet range alone is said to harbour White Bison, a very rare animal. It seems probable that what was observed as a white bison by some forester in the past might ...

We found out that two of the guides had been in Wilson's party and had guided other Europeans to see the White Bison. They told us that they had not seen a 'White bison' in the last 15 or 20 years. They admitted quite frankly that this was partly due to the fact that there was no occasion for them to go looking for Gaur. ... The senior laskar at Manjampatti told me that he has been there for .

A Sinhala Verse reads in part: "Having come swiftly, On the day the excellent white gaur was killed, A scoop of blood was given to thee !

Recent sightings

In 1972, Rev. Sam Schmitthenner observed two white gaur in Manjampatti Valley. He said:

I took one more hike down into Manjampatti after staying in Kukkal Cave overnight. Early in the morning, we saw a herd of bison, and there on the edge of the herd were two albino calves. Earlier that month I had read an article in Hornbill, a Bombay conservation magazine, about the albino bison of Manjamphatti.

In 1970, E. R. C. Davidar, a famous wildlife researcher, spent several months on behalf of the Bombay Natural History Society in Chinnar trying to spot and photograph this animal. His mission, undertaken to provide scientific evidence to the rumours floating in the air for several decades, did not find success. His report to the BNHS, White Bison of Manjampatti said that the white gaur reported by Williams might have become extinct following the outbreak of an epizootic disease that wiped out several herds from the region in those days. But, tribals living in the forests continued to claim that white gaurs were still there in Chinnar.

In 1998, the then Wildlife Warden of Eravikulam, Mohan Alambath, his Range Officer, V. K. Franzis, and a wildlife enthusiast, V. P. Ajithkumar, claimed sighting this animal in Chinnar.[4]Though they reported the matter in the journal of BNHS the photograph they had taken of the animal lacked clarity.

In 2004, the famous and extremely rare white bison was reported at Chinnar. An unusual white gaur, moving with a herd of dark-skinned gaurs, was spotted in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki district and photographed by the wildlife photographer, N. A. Nazeer.

In 2006, this possible sub-species was seen and photographed in Manjampatti Valley by Forest Department staff.

In 2007, a rare Manjampatti White Bison was seen in a herd of about eight or ten normal coloured Bison grazing and resting on mountain downs above Kukkal at the northeast corner of Manjampatti Valley.

An 2007 encounter with a White Bison at the jungle lodge near the Chinnar checkpost has been described:

A White Bison reaches the end of the trail and stops at the edge of the clearing. He's huge. Over 1.8 meters (6 ft) tall and 2.4 meters (8 ft) to 3 meters (10 ft) long. Sharp horns over 30 centimeters (11.8 in) long. I have no where to go because the bison herd has blocked the other two exits, so I'm just standing there, hoping White Bison will keep walking and I can go back onto the trail. No such luck. He stands there, barely ten feet away from me, and stares. And Stares. I'm thinking, wow, I'm totally going to die right now, because I've got White Bison in front of me and Brown Bison to my left, and neither of them like me here... So for about five full minutes we face off, until White Bison decides the water is more important, and finally meanders off.

In Satpura there are four totally white gaur - presumably albinos or some genetic sport - who, amid their black companions, appear like ghosts in a forest