Wild Water Buffalo
The wild water buffalo, also known as Asiatic buffalo, is a large bovine native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It has been listed as Endangerd in the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population has been estimated at 3,400 individuals, of which 90% of population lives in India, mostly in Assam. The wild water buffalo is the probable ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.
The wild water buffalo has an ash gray to black skin. The moderately long, coarse and sparse hair is directed forward from the haunches to the long and narrow head. There is a tuft on the forehead, and the ears are comparatively small. Its head-to-body-length is 240 – 300 cm with a 60 – 100 cm long tail and a shoulder height of 150 – 190 cm. Both sexes carry horns that are heavy at the base and widely spreading up to 2 m along the outer edges, exceeding in size the horns of any other living bovid. The tip of the tail is bushy; the hooves are large and splayed. It is larger and heavier than domestic buffalo, and weighs from 600 – 1200 kg. It is among the heaviest living wild bovid species, and is slightly smaller than the gaur.
It is associated with wet grasslands, swamps and densely vegetated river valleys.
Wild water buffalo are both diurnal and nocturnal. Adult females and their young form stable clans of as many as 30 individuals Clans are led by old cows, even when bulls accompany the group. Several clans form a herd of 30 to 500 animals that gather at resting areas. Adult males form bachelor groups of up to 10 individuals, with older males often being solitary, and spend the dry season apart from the female clans.
Their gestation period is 10 – 11 months, with an inter-birth interval of one year. They typically give birth to a single offspring. The maximum known lifespan is 25 years in the wild.
They are probably grazers by preference, feeding mainly on graminoids when available, such as Bermuda grass and Cyperus sedges, but they also eat other herbs, fruits, and bark, as well as browsing on trees and shrubs.
Tigers and crocodiles prey on adult wild water buffalo, and Asian black bears have also been known to kill them.