Asian Water Buffalo

(Bubalus arnee)

 

Size:

 

10 feet long, 6 feet tall at the shoulder.  Weighs up to 2,600 pounds.

Longevity:

Wild buffaloes life up to 25 years

Population in  the Wild:

Approximately 3,400

 Family Life: Produce 1-2 calves after a gestation of 10-11 months.
Habitat:

Grasslands with a large water supply for drinking and wallowing.

Locomotion: Buffalo usually walk slowly as they graze.
What they eat:

Feed largely on grasses.  Also known to eat fruit and bark, ‘browsing’ on shrubs.

Closest  Relatives: Distantly related to our domestic cattle.
Relationship  to Humans:

 

Bred domestically and used to help pull plows, as a source of meat and dairy, dung is used as fertilizer on crops or dried and used as fuel for fires.

photo M Noonan

Cool Fact:

The water buffalo spends a lot of time in shallow waters and muddy soils.  Their widely splayed hooves act like snow shoes so that this large animal can walk in the mud without sinking too deeply and getting stuck.

Conservation Story:

Just like many other species the Indian Water Buffalo is most threatened by the loss of habitat from people expanding their villages and farmlands.  The water buffalo have also ben known to mate with domestic cattle which means the babies will not be full blood wild buffalo. 

What is being done now?

Many buffalo can be seen at Kaziranga National Park of India.  The park is well protected and is large enough that many individuals can form multiple herds.

What should be done in the future?

More natural space will be needed for the wild water buffalo to thrive in India.  People also should make sure that domestic cattle do not overlap in wild buffalo ranges, so they don’t mate.

 

CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.