Species: Asian buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The horn span of the Asian buffalo is wider than that of any other bovid!
At up to more than a tonne in weight, the Asian buffalo is a massive, powerful animal with long, crescent-shaped, ribbed horns. Native to Southeast Asia, the Asian buffalo spends much of its time wallowing in rivers or mud holes, and it has large, splayed hooves which are advantageous when walking on the muddy, marshy ground. A gregarious but not territorial animal, the Asian buffalo lives in stable clans of females and their young, led by a dominant matriarch. Young males leave this clan at the age of three, normally to join bachelor groups of around ten individuals. Asian buffalo graze in the morning and evening, and occasionally at night, on lush grass and leafy aquatic vegetation.
Although domestic buffalo are widespread and thriving, there is a very real possibility that true wild Asian buffalo will become extinct in the near future, if they have not already done so. They are currently threatened by hunting, habitat loss and hybridisation with domestic and/or feral buffalo. This species is legally protected across its range in Bhutan, Nepal, India and Thailand, and it is thought that pure-bred populations may occur in several protected areas.
Find out more about the conservation of the Asian buffalo with the Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author