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Wallowing Water Buffalo To Feature Once More At Territory Wildlife Park

The Territory Wildlife Park has plans to feature buffalo in a new two-hectare exhibit, showcasing the iconic animal to Top End visitors.

In a timeline spanning more than 170 years of buffalo history in Australia, the attraction will attempt to share the story of the once domesticated beast turned feral.

It has been nine years since the park, owned and operated by the Northern Territory Government, last featured buffalo, along with feral pigs and deer.

Water buffalo first arrived in the Top End in the early 1800s for meat production, but were later abandoned to roam free.

Despite tens of thousands of the animals being culled as part of the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign in the 1980s, large numbers still run wild.

And while the damage caused to the environment has been significant, the buffalo have become much more valuable to land holders in recent years with the expansion of the Vietnamese live export market.

Acting curator Donna Jensen said demand from the public has prompted the move to return the animals to the park.

She said the new attraction would aim to both inform and entertain the visitors.

"We'll introduce you to where they first came in, why they were brought in and any of the issues surrounding them."

"We'll go through a bit of a track and a walk through — the life of them in the Territory."

The enclosure will also feature a bull catcher, a vehicle used for decades in assisting the capture of feral stock.

"We're having really interesting conversations with one of the older guys who was involved in the production and planning of the bull catchers when they were first created.

"He was very interesting on why it was created for the safety of the animal, instead of roping which they used to do."

The Territory Wildlife Park is expecting to host up to eight buffalo when the attraction opens in the dry season of 2017.

Original article by ABC.

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