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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 06:37 GMT 07:37 UK
Buffalo thrive on UK downland
One of the buffalos
The buffalos enjoy 160 acres of chalk downland
A farmer believes he has found the answer to raising cattle on Hampshire's stretches of rolling chalk downland - by bringing in Indian water buffalo.

Dagan James' farming business has flourished on the hills above Winchester with the help of a herd of animals normally seen thousands of miles away on the Indian sub-continent.

He turned 160 acres of arable grassland back to chalk downland to accommodate the buffalo.

Mr James, who runs Broughton Water Buffalo, near Stockbridge, says they have flourished on the thin grass that would not favour more conventional cattle.

"We found that, with quite a lot of research, this was an animal that was going to do fairly well on marginal land - chalk downland isn't very productive grassland - and also apart from that there is the amazing character of the animals," Mr James said.

"They have a very easy-going nature, of course up to a point - when they get angry they certainly get angry.

"But, on the whole, we find them just very placid and very curious."

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