Gaur (Bos gaurus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Bovidae
Size:    Height: 6 feet (2 m) at the shoulder
Weight: 1,500 to 2,000 pounds (680 to 907 kg)
Diet: Grass, leaves and bamboo shoots
Distribution: Asia
Young:  1
Animal Predators:  Tigers
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Terms: Female: Cow  Male: Bull  Young: Calf
Lifespan: Up to 26 years



·       The gaur, also known as the seledang, is the largest type of wild cattle.

·       Attempts to domesticate the gaur have never been successful.

·       Males are approximately ¼ larger than females.



Adult male gaurs are dark brown to black in colour, with white legs from just above the knees, down to and including the hooves. Females and young are reddish-brown. Both females and males have off-white curved horns with black pointed tips. Gaurs have a dewlap, which is a loose fold of skin that cools them down by giving off body heat, as well as a hairy hump called a dorsal ridge.



Gaurs live in mountain forests with a grassy clearing, usually near a water source for drinking and bathing. Although numbers have diminished, they can still be found in scattered herds in India, Burma, Thailand and the Malay Peninsula. 


Feeding Habits

Gaurs graze most of the day, although they take time off early in the morning and in the afternoon to sleep and to chew cud (they regurgitate their food and chew it again for maximum nutrition). Glades within the forest provide grass, but gaurs may also feed on lower slopes in the cool of the evening and at night, and take short naps in between grazing.



When a female is ready to mate, the male can tell by sniffing her. He then challenges other males for the right to mate with the cow. The winner is usually the one who threatens the loudest—actual physical conflicts are rare. When a cow’s time to birth arrives, she leaves the herd for a short period and returns a few days later with her newborn calf, who will nurse for up to nine months. The calves in the herd are very playful with each other, but are closely guarded from predators by the adults. Female offspring stay with the herd, while male offspring leave at about three years of age to join a bachelor herd. 



Gaurs are wild oxen that live in small herds numbering up to 11, led by one male, although some herds can contain as many as 40. Those not in charge of a herd lead solitary lives or join a bachelor herd. When alarmed, the herd stomps on the ground in unison and give a whistling snort as an alarm call. They are active by day in areas where there are no humans but are more nocturnal where they are in danger of being hunted or disturbed. They moo and bellow just like domestic cattle. 



In an attempt to keep the gaur from becoming extinct in years to come, scientists are placing DNA from dead gaurs into cow eggs stripped of its nuclei. 



Gaur Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US