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The water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), also called domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo is a large bovid originating in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China. Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, North America, South America and some African countries.[1] Two extant types of water buffalo are recognized, based on morphological and behavioural criteria – the river buffalo of the Indian subcontinent and further west to the Balkans, Egypt, and Italy, and the swamp buffalo, found from Assam in the west through Southeast Asia to the Yangtze valley of China in the east.[1][2]

The wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) most likely represents the ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.[3] Results of a phylogenetic study indicate that the river-type water buffalo probably originated in India and was domesticated about 5,000 years ago, whereas the swamp-type originated in China and was domesticated about 4,000 years ago.[4] The swamp buffalo dispersed up to the Yangtze River valley between 3,000 and 7,000 years ago.[5]

Water buffaloes were traded from the Indus Valley Civilisation to Mesopotamia, in modern Iraq, 2500 BC by the Meluhhas.[6] The seal of a scribe

Bos bubalis Linnaeus, 1758

The water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), also called domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo is a large bovid originating in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China. Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, North America, South America and some African countries.[1] Two extant types of water buffalo are recognized, based on morphological and behavioural criteria – the river buffalo of the Indian subcontinent and further west to the Balkans, Egypt, and Italy, and the swamp buffalo, found from Assam in the west through Southeast Asia to the Yangtze valley of China in the east.[1][2]

The wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) most likely represents the ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.[3] Results of a phylogenetic study indicate that the river-type water buffalo probably originated in India and was domesticated about 5,000 years ago, whereas the swamp-type originated in China and was domesticated about 4,000 years ago.[4] The swamp buffalo dispersed up to the Yangtze River valley between 3,000 and 7,000 years ago.[5]

Water buffaloes were traded from the Indus Valley Civilisation to Mesopotamia, in modern Iraq, 2500 BC by the Meluhhas.[6] The seal of a scribe employed by an Akkadian king shows the sacrifice of water buffaloes.[7]

At least 130 million water buffaloes exist, and more people depend on them than on any other domestic animal.[8] They are especially suitable for tilling rice fields, and their milk is richer in fat and protein than that of bovid originating in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China. Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, North America, South America and some African countries.[1] Two extant types of water buffalo are recognized, based on morphological and behavioural criteria – the river buffalo of the Indian subcontinent and further west to the Balkans, Egypt, and Italy, and the swamp buffalo, found from Assam in the west through Southeast Asia to the Yangtze valley of China in the east.[1][2]

The wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee) most likely represents the ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.[3] Results of a phylogenetic study indicate that the river-type water buffalo probably originated in India and was domesticated about 5,000 years ago, whereas the swamp-type originated in China and was domesticated about 4,000 years ago.[4] The swamp buffalo dispersed up to the Yangtze River valley between 3,000 and 7,000 years ago.[5]

Water buffaloes were traded from the Indus Valley Civilisation to Mesopotamia, in modern Iraq, 2500 BC by the Meluhhas.[6] The seal of a scribe employed by an Akkadian king shows the sacrifice of water buffaloes.[7]

At least 130 million water buffaloes exist, and more people depend on them than on any other domestic animal.[8] They are especially suitable for tilling rice fields, and their milk is richer in fat and protein than that of dairy cattle. A large feral population became established in northern Australia in the late 19th century, and there are smaller feral herds in Papua New Guinea, Tunisia, and northeastern Argentina.[1] Feral herds are also present in New Britain, New Ireland, Irian Jaya, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, and Uruguay.[9]

Carl Linnaeus first described the genus Bos and the water buffalo under the binomial Bos bubalis in 1758; the species was known to occur in Asia and was held as a domestic form in Italy.[10] Ellerman and Morrison-Scott treated the wild and domestic forms of the water buffalo as conspecifics,[11] whereas others treated them as different species.[12] The nomenclatorial treatment of the wild and domestic forms has been inconsistent and varies between authors and even within the works of single authors.[13]

In March 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature achieved consistency in the naming of the wild and domestic water buffaloes by ruling that the scientific name Bubalus arnee is valid for the wild form.[14] B. bubalis continues to be valid for the domestic form and applies also to feral populations.[15]

Characteristics

A water buffalo skull
Albino water buffaloes in Tangse, Aceh

The skin of the river buffalo is black, but some specimens may have dark, slate-coloured skin. Swamp buffaloes have a grey skin at birth, but become slate blue later. Albinoids are present in some populations. River buffaloes have comparatively longer faces, smaller girths, and bigger limbs than swamp buffaloes. Their dorsal ridges extend further back and taper off more gradually. Their horns grow downward and backward, then curve upward in a spiral. Swamp buffaloes are heavy-bodied and stockily built; the body is short and the belly large. The forehead is flat, the eyes prominent, the face short, and the muzzle wide. The neck is comparatively long, and the withers and croup are prominent. A dorsal ridge extends backward and ends abruptly just before the end of the chest. Their horns grow outward, and curve in a semicircle, but always remain more or less on the plane of the forehead. The tail is short, reaching only to the hocks. Body size and shape of horns may vary greatly among breeds. Average height at the withers is 129–133 cm (51–52 in) for males, and 120–127 cm (47–50 in) for females, but large individuals may attain 160 cm (63 in). Head-lump length at maturity typically ranges 240–300 cm (94–118 in) with a 60–100 cm (24–39 in) long tail.[16] They range in weight from 300–550 kg (660–1,210 lb), but weig

In March 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature achieved consistency in the naming of the wild and domestic water buffaloes by ruling that the scientific name Bubalus arnee is valid for the wild form.[14] B. bubalis continues to be valid for the domestic form and applies also to feral populations.[15]

The skin of the river buffalo is black, but some specimens may have dark, slate-coloured skin. Swamp buffaloes have a grey skin at birth, but become slate blue later. Albinoids are present in some populations. River buffaloes have comparatively longer faces, smaller girths, and bigger limbs than swamp buffaloes. Their dorsal ridges extend further back and taper off more gradually. Their horns grow downward and backward, then curve upward in a spiral. Swamp buffaloes are heavy-bodied and stockily built; the body is short and the belly large. The forehead is flat, the eyes prominent, the face short, and the muzzle wide. The neck is comparatively long, and the withers and croup are prominent. A dorsal ridge extends backward and ends abruptly just before the end of the chest. Their horns grow outward, and curve in a semicircle, but always remain more or less on the plane of the forehead. The tail is short, reaching only to the hocks. Body size and shape of horns may vary greatly among breeds. Average height at the withers is 129–133 cm (51–52 in) for males, and 120–127 cm (47–50 in) for females, but large individuals may attain 160 cm (63 in). Head-lump length at maturity typically ranges 240–300 cm (94–118 in) with a 60–100 cm (24–39 in) long tail.[16] They range in weight from 300–550 kg (660–1,210 lb), but weights of over 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and 1,100 kg (2,400 lb) have also been observed.[1]

Tedong bonga is a piebald water buffalo featuring a unique black and white colouration that is favoured by the Toraja of Sulawesi.[17]

The swamp buffalo has 48 chromosomes; the river buffalo has 50 chromosomes. The two types do not readily interbreed, but fertile offspring can occur. Water buffalo-cattle hybrids have not been observed to occur, but the embryos of such hybrids reach maturity in laboratory experiments, albeit at lower rates than non-hybrids.[18]

The rumen of the water buffalo differs from the rumen of other ruminants.[19] It contains a larger population of bacteria, particularly the cellulolytic bacteria, lower protozoa, and higher fungi zoospores. In addition, higher rumen ammonia nitrogen (NH4-N) and higher pH have been found, compared to those in cattle.[20]

Ecology and behavior

piebald water buffalo featuring a unique black and white colouration that is favoured by the Toraja of Sulawesi.[17]

The swamp buffalo has 48 chromosomes; the river buffalo has 50 chromosomes. The two types do not readily interbreed, but fertile offspring can occur. Water buffalo-cattle hybrids have not been observed to occur, but the embryos of such hybrids reach maturity in laboratory experiments, albeit at lower rates than non-hybrids.[18]

The rumen of the water buffalo differs from the rumen of other ruminants.[19] It contains a larger population of bacteria, particularly the cellulolytic bacteria, lower protozoa, and higher fungi zoospores. In addition, higher rumen ammonia nitrogen (NH4-N) and higher pH have been found, compared to those in cattle.[20]

River buffaloes prefer deep water. Swamp buffaloes prefer to wallow in mudholes, which they make with their horns. During wallowing, they acquire a thick coating of mud.[1] Both are well-adapted to a hot and humid climate with temperatures ranging from 0 °C (32 °F) in the winter to 30 °C (86 °F) and greater in the summer. Water availability is important in hot climates, since they need wallows, rivers, or splashing water to assist in thermoregulation. Some water buffalo breeds are adapted to saline seaside shores and saline sandy terrain.[21]

Diet

Water buffaloes thrive on many aquatic plants. During floods, they graze submerged, raising their heads above the water and carrying quantities of edible plants. Water buffaloes eat reeds, Arundo donax, a kind of Cyperaceae, Eichhornia crassipes, and Juncaceae. Some of these plants are of great value to local peoples. Others, such as E. crassipes and A. donax, are a major problem in some tropical valleys and by eating them, the water buffaloes may help control these invasive plants.

Green fodders are used widely for intensive milk production and for fattening. Many fodder crops are conserved as hay, chaffed, or pulped. Fodders include alfalfa, the leaves, stems or trimmings of banana, cassava, Mangelwurzel, esparto, Leucaena leucocephala and kenaf, maize, oats, Pandanus, peanut, aquatic plants. During floods, they graze submerged, raising their heads above the water and carrying quantities of edible plants. Water buffaloes eat reeds, Arundo donax, a kind of Cyperaceae, Eichhornia crassipes, and Juncaceae. Some of these plants are of great value to local peoples. Others, such as E. crassipes and A. donax, are a major problem in some tropical valleys and by eating them, the water buffaloes may help control these invasive plants.

Green fodders are used widely for intensive milk production and for fattening. Many fodder crops are conserved as hay, chaffed, or pulped. Fodders include alfalfa, the leaves, stems or trimmings of bananaGreen fodders are used widely for intensive milk production and for fattening. Many fodder crops are conserved as hay, chaffed, or pulped. Fodders include alfalfa, the leaves, stems or trimmings of banana, cassava, Mangelwurzel, esparto, Leucaena leucocephala and kenaf, maize, oats, Pandanus, peanut, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane, bagasse, and turnips. Citrus pulp and pineapple wastes have been fed safely to buffalo. In Egypt, whole sun-dried dates are fed to milk buffalo up to 25% of the standard feed mixture.[1]

Swamp buffaloes generally become reproductive at an older age than river breeds. Young males in Egypt, India, and Pakistan are first mated around 3.0–3.5 years of age, but in Italy, they may be used as early as 2 years of age. Successful mating behaviour may continue until the animal is 12 years or even older. A good river buffalo male can impregnate 100 females in a year. A strong seasonal influence on mating occurs. Heat stress reduces libido.[1]

Although water buffaloes are polyoestrous, their reproductive efficiency shows wide variation throughout the year. The cows exhibit a distinct seasonal change in displaying oestrus, conception rate, and calving rate.[22] The age at the first oestrus of heifers varies between breeds from 13 to 33 months, but mating at the first oestrus is often infertile and usually deferred until they are 3 years old. Gestation lasts from 281 to 334 days, but most reports give a range between 300 and 320 days. Swamp buffaloes carry their calves for one or two weeks longer than river buffaloes. Finding water buffaloes that continue to work well at the age of 30 is not uncommon, and instances of a working life of 40 years have been recorded.oestrus, conception rate, and calving rate.[22] The age at the first oestrus of heifers varies between breeds from 13 to 33 months, but mating at the first oestrus is often infertile and usually deferred until they are 3 years old. Gestation lasts from 281 to 334 days, but most reports give a range between 300 and 320 days. Swamp buffaloes carry their calves for one or two weeks longer than river buffaloes. Finding water buffaloes that continue to work well at the age of 30 is not uncommon, and instances of a working life of 40 years have been recorded.[1]

Water buffaloes were domesticated in the Indian subcontinent about 5,000 years ago, and in China about 4,000 years ago. Two types are recognized, based on morphological and behavioural criteria – the river buffalo of the Indian subcontinent and further west to the Balkans and Italy, and the swamp buffalo, found from Assam in the west through Southeast Asia to the Yangtze valley of China in the east.[2] The present-day river buffalo is the result of complex domestication processes involving more than one maternal lineage and a significant maternal gene flow from wild populations after the initial domestication events.[23] Twenty-two breeds of the river buffalo are known, including the Murrah, NiliRavi, Surti, Jafarabadi, Anatolian, Mediterranean, and Egyptian buffaloes.[24] China has a huge variety of water buffalo genetic resources, with 16 local swamp buffalo breeds in various regions.[21]

Genetic studies

Results of mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that the two types were domesticated independently.[25] Sequencing of cytochrome b genes of Bubalus species implies that the water buffalo originated from at least two populations, and that the river-type and the swamp-type have differentiated at the full species level. The genetic distance between the two types is so large that a divergence time of about 1.7 million years has been suggested. The swamp-type was noticed to

Results of mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that the two types were domesticated independently.[25] Sequencing of cytochrome b genes of Bubalus species implies that the water buffalo originated from at least two populations, and that the river-type and the swamp-type have differentiated at the full species level. The genetic distance between the two types is so large that a divergence time of about 1.7 million years has been suggested. The swamp-type was noticed to have the closest relationship with the tamaraw.[26]

Analyses of mitochondrial DNA and single-nucleotide polymorphism indicate that swamp and river buffaloes were crossbredAnalyses of mitochondrial DNA and single-nucleotide polymorphism indicate that swamp and river buffaloes were crossbred in China.[27]

An analysis of the genomes of 91 swamp and 30 river buffaloes showed that they separated already before domestication about 0.23 million years ago.[28]

By 2011, the global water buffalo population was about 172 million.[29]

In Asia

A water buffalo in Cambodia
More than 95.8% of the world population of water buffaloes are kept in Asia, including both the river-type and the swamp-type.[21] The water buffalo population in India numbered over 97.9 million head in 2003, representing 56.5% of the world population. They are primarily of the river type, with 10 well-defined breeds: the Bhadawari, Banni, Jafarabadi, Marathwadi, Mehsana, Murrah, Nagpuri, Nili-Ravi, Pandharpuri, Surti, and Toda buffaloes. Swamp buffaloes occur only in small areas in northeastern India and are not distinguished into breeds.[30]

In 2003, the second-largest population lived in China, with 22.76 million head, all of the swamp-type, with many breeds kept only in the lowlands, and other breeds kept only in the mountains; as of 2003, 3.2 million swamp-type carabao buffaloes were in the Philippines, nearly 3 million swamp buffaloes were in Vietnam, and roughly 773,000 buffaloes were in Bangladesh. About 750,000 head were estimated in Sri Lanka in 1997.[21] In Japan, the water buffalo is the domestic animal throughout the Ryukyu Islands or Okinawa prefecture. About 889,250 water buffaloes were in Nepal.[citation needed]

The water buffalo is the main dairy animal in Pakistan, with 23.47 million head in 2010.[31] Of these, 76% are kept in the Punjab. The rest are mostly kept in the province of Sindh. The water buffalo breeds used are the Nili-Ravi, Kundi, and Azi Kheli.[32] Karachi has the largest population of water buffaloes for an area where fodder is not grown, consisting of 350,000 head kept mainly for milking.[citation needed]

In Thailand, the number of water buffaloes dropped from more than 3 million head in 1996 to less than 1.24 million head in 2011.[33] Slightly over 75% of them are kept in the country's northeastern region. By the beginning of 2012, less than one million were in the country, partly as a result of illegal shipments to neighboring countries where sales prices are higher than in Thailand.[citation needed]

Water buffaloes are also present in the southern region of IraqIn 2003, the second-largest population lived in China, with 22.76 million head, all of the swamp-type, with many breeds kept only in the lowlands, and other breeds kept only in the mountains; as of 2003, 3.2 million swamp-type carabao buffaloes were in the Philippines, nearly 3 million swamp buffaloes were in Vietnam, and roughly 773,000 buffaloes were in Bangladesh. About 750,000 head were estimated in Sri Lanka in 1997.[21] In Japan, the water buffalo is the domestic animal throughout the Ryukyu Islands or Okinawa prefecture. About 889,250 water buffaloes were in Nepal.[citation needed]

The water buffalo is the main dairy animal in Pakistan, with 23.47 million head in 2010.[31] Of these, 76% are kept in the Punjab. The rest are mostly kept in the province of Sindh. The water buffalo breeds used are the Nili-Ravi, Kundi, and Azi Kheli.[32] Karachi has the largest population of water buffaloes for an area where fodder is not grown, consisting of 350,000 head kept mainly for milking.[citation needed]

In Thailand, the number of water buffaloes dropped from more than 3 million head in 1996 to less than 1.24 million head in 2011.[33] Slightly over 75% of them are kept in the country's northeastern region. By the beginning of 2012, less than one million were in the country, partly as a result of illegal shipments to neighboring countries where sales prices are higher than in Thailand.[citation needed]

Water buffaloes are also present in the southern region of Iraq in the Mesopotamian Marshes. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes by Saddam Hussein was an attempt to punish the south for the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. After 2003 and the Firdos Square statue destruction, these lands were reflooded and a 2007 report on Maysan and Dhi Qar shows a steady increase in the number of water buffaloes. The report puts the number at 40,008 head in those two provinces.[34]

Water buffaloes were probably introduced to Europe from India or other eastern sources. In Italy, the Longobard King Agilulf is said to have received water buffaloes around 600 AD. These were probably a present from the Khan of the Avars, a Turkic nomadic tribe that dwelt near the Danube River at the time. Sir H. Johnston knew of a herd of water buffaloes presented by a King of Naples to the Bey of Tunis in the mid-19th century that had resumed the feral state in northern Tunis.[35]

European water buffaloes are all of the river-type and considered to be of the same breed named the Mediterranean buffalo. In Italy, the Mediterranean type was particularly selected and is called the Mediterranea Italiana buffalo to distinguish it from other European breeds, which differ genetically. Mediterranean buffalo are also kept in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia, with a few hundred in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Hungary. Little exchange of breeding water buffaloes has occurred among countries, so each population has its own phenotypic features and performances. In Bulgaria, they were crossbred with the Indian Murrah breed, and in Romania, some were crossbred with Bulgarian Murrah.[21] As of 2016, about 13,000 buffaloes were in Romania, down from 289,000 in 1989.[36]

Populations in Turkey are of the Anatolian buffalo breed.[24]

In Australia

capital asset. The women and girls in India generally look after the milking buffaloes, while the men and boys are concerned with the working animals. Throughout Asia, they are commonly tended by children who are often seen leading or riding their charges to wallows. Water buffaloes are the ideal animals for work in the deep mud of paddy fields because of their large hooves and flexible foot joints. They are often referred to as "the living tractor of the East". They are the most efficient and economical means of cultivation of small fields. In most rice-producing countries, they are used for threshing and for transporting the sheaves during the rice harvest. They provide power for oilseed mills, sugarcane presses, and devices for raising water. They are widely used as pack animals, and in India and Pakistan, for heavy haulage, also. In their invasions of Europe, the Turks used water buffaloes for hauling heavy battering rams. Their dung is used as a fertilizer, and as a fuel when dried.[1]

Around 26 million water buffaloes are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide.[48] They contribute 72 million tonnes of milk and three million tonnes of meat annually to world food, much of it in areas that are prone to nutritional imbalances. In India, river buffaloes are kept mainly for milk production and for transport, whereas swamp buffaloes are kept mainly for work and a small amount of milk.[30]

Dairy products

Dairy products of water buffalo milk

Water buffalo milk presents physicochemical features different from those of other ruminant species, such as a higher content of fatty acids and proteins.[49] The physical and chemical parameters of swamp-type and river-type water buffalo milk differ.[50] Water buffalo milk contains higher levels of total solids, crude protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus, and slightly higher content of lactose compared with those of cow milk. The high level of total solids makes water buffalo milk ideal for processing into value-added dairy products such as cheese. The conjugated linoleic acid content in water buffalo milk ranged from 4.4&#

Around 26 million water buffaloes are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide.[48] They contribute 72 million tonnes of milk and three million tonnes of meat annually to world food, much of it in areas that are prone to nutritional imbalances. In India, river buffaloes are kept mainly for milk production and for transport, whereas swamp buffaloes are kept mainly for work and a small amount of milk.[30]

Water buffalo milk presents physicochemical features different from those of other ruminant species, such as a higher content of fatty acids and proteins.[49] The physical and chemical parameters of swamp-type and river-type water buffalo milk differ.[50] Water buffalo milk contains higher levels of total solids, crude protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus, and slightly higher content of lactose compared with those of cow milk. The high level of total solids makes water buffalo milk ideal for processing into value-added dairy products such as cheese. The conjugated linoleic acid content in water buffalo milk ranged from 4.4 mg/g fat in September to 7.6 mg/g fat in June. Seasons and genetics may play a role in variation of CLA level and changes in gross composition of water buffalo milk.[51]

Water buffalo milk is processed into a large variety of dairy products, including:

  • Cream churns much faster at higher fat levels and gives higher overrun than cow cream.[52]
  • Butter from water buffalo cream displays more stability than that from cow cream.[52]
  • Ghee from water buffalo milk has a different texture with a bigger grain size than ghee from cow milk.[52]
  • Heat-concentrated milk products in the Indian subcontinent include paneer, khoa, rabri, kheerWater buffalo milk is processed into a large variety of dairy products, including:

    Water buffalo meat, sometimes called "carabeef", is often passed off as beef in certain regions, and is also a major source of export revenue for India. In many Asian regions, water buffalo meat is less preferred due to its toughness; however, recipes have evolved (rendang, for example) where the slow cooking process and spices not only make the meat palatable, but also preserve it, an important factor in hot climates where refrigeration is not always available.[citation needed]

    Their hides provide tough and useful leather, often used for shoes.[citation needed]

    Bone and horn products

    A bihu dancer blowing a hornpipe

    The bones and horns are often made into jewellery, especially earrings. Horns are used for the embouchure of musical instruments, such as ney and kaval.[54]

    Environmental effects

    Wildlife conservation scientists have started to recommend and use introduced populations of feral water buffaloes in far-away lands to manage uncontrolled vegetation growth in and around natural wetlands. Introduced water buffaloes at home in such environs provide cheap service by regularly grazing the uncontrolled vegetation and opening up clogged water bodies for waterfowl, wetland birds, and other wildlife.[55][56] Grazing water buffaloes are sometimes used in Great Britain for conservation grazing, such as in the Chippenham Fen National Nature Reserve. The water buffaloes can better adapt to wet conditions and poor-quality vegetation than cattle.[57]

    Currently, the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies is conducting research to determine the levels of nutrients removed and returned to wetlands when water buffaloes are used for wetland vegetation management.[citation needed]

    In uncontrolled circumstances, though, water buffaloes can cause environmental damage, such as trampling vegetation, disturbing bird and reptile nesting sites, and spreading exotic weeds.[58]

    Research

    Their hides provide tough and useful leather, often used for shoes.[citation needed]

    The bones and horns are often made into jewellery, especially earrings. Horns are used for the embouchure of musical instruments, such as ney and kaval.[54]

    Environmental effects

    Wildlife conservation scientists have started to recommend and use introduced populations of feral water buffaloes in far-away lands to manage uncontrolled vegetation growth in and around natural wetlands. Introduced water buffaloes at home in such environs provide cheap service by regularly grazing the uncontrolled vegetation and opening up clogged water bodies for waterfowl, wetland birds, and other wildlife.[55][56] Grazing water buffaloes are sometimes used in Great Britain for Wildlife conservation scientists have started to recommend and use introduced populations of feral water buffaloes in far-away lands to manage uncontrolled vegetation growth in and around natural wetlands. Introduced water buffaloes at home in such environs provide cheap service by regularly grazing the uncontrolled vegetation and opening up clogged water bodies for waterfowl, wetland birds, and other wildlife.[55][56] Grazing water buffaloes are sometimes used in Great Britain for conservation grazing, such as in the Chippenham Fen National Nature Reserve. The water buffaloes can better adapt to wet conditions and poor-quality vegetation than cattle.[57]

    Currently, the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies is conducting research to determine the levels of nutrients removed and returned to wetlands when water buffaloes are used for wetland vegetation management.[Currently, the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies is conducting research to determine the levels of nutrients removed and returned to wetlands when water buffaloes are used for wetland vegetation management.[citation needed]

    In uncontrolled circumstances, though, water buffaloes can cause environmental damage, such as trampling vegetation, disturbing bird and reptile nesting sites, and spreading exotic weeds.[58]

    In 2007, the development of Southeast Asia's first cloned water buffalo was announced in the Philippines. The Department of Agriculture's Philippine Carabao Center implemented cloning through somatic cell nuclear transfer as a tool for genetic improvement in water buffaloes to produce "super buffalo calves" by multiplying existing germplasms, but without modifying or altering genetic material.[59]

    In January 2008, the Philippine Carabao Center in Nueva Ecija, per Filipino scientists, initiated a study to breed a super water buffalo that could produce 4 to 18 litres of milk per day, using gene-based technology. Also, the first in vitro river buffalo was born there in 2004 from an in vitro-produced, vitrified embryo, named "Glory" after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Joseph Estrada's most successful project as an opposition senator, the PCC was created through Republic Act 3707, the Carabao Act of 1992.[60]

    Indian scientists from the Nueva Ecija, per Filipino scientists, initiated a study to breed a super water buffalo that could produce 4 to 18 litres of milk per day, using gene-based technology. Also, the first in vitro river buffalo was born there in 2004 from an in vitro-produced, vitrified embryo, named "Glory" after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Joseph Estrada's most successful project as an opposition senator, the PCC was created through Republic Act 3707, the Carabao Act of 1992.[60]

    Indian scientists from the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal developed a cloned water buffalo in 2010. The water buffalo calf was named Samrupa. The calf did not survive more than a week, due to genetic defects. A few months later, a second cloned calf named Garima was successfully born.[61] The Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes, India's premier research institute on water buffaloes, also became the second institute in the world to successfully clone the water buffalo in 2016.[citation needed]