Gaur

Gaur

Inidian bison

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Subfamily
Genus
Bos
SPECIES
Bos gaurus
Population size
13-30 Thou
Life Span
26 yrs
WEIGHT
650-1,000 kg
HEIGHT
165-220 cm
LENGTH
250-330 cm

Being one of the largest cattle species, this bovine has massive head, deep body and solid limbs. The color of their body varies from reddish or brown to black while the limbs are pale colored. Both males and females have upwardly curved horns, growing from sides of their head. Their horns have yellow base and black tip. These animals have a hump on their shoulders, which is especially prominent in adult males. In addition, they have a distinct "dewlap" of skin, stretching from their throat to their forelegs.

Distibution

Gaurs are found from southern to southeastern Asia (Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Lao, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia), Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Viet Nam). Their preferred habitat is grassy terrains and forested hills. In some areas of their range, these animals inhabit high elevations of up to 1800 meters.

Gaur habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Generally, Gaurs are most active in the morning and evening. However, they can be active by day or even become nocturnal, when living nearby human settlements. These sociable animals gather into herds, containing 8-11 or more individuals. A Gaur herd includes females and one dominant male. Home range of each herd covers about 78 sq. kilometers’ (30 sq. miles) territory. Bulls often congregate into bachelor herds while older males occasionally prefer living solitarily. Against a threat, the bull usually lowers its head and hind side, attacking the rival from the broadside with its horns. When alarmed, these animals give out a call known as "whistling snort".

Diet and Nutrition

Gaur is herbivorous animal. Being both a grazer and a browser, this bovine feeds mainly upon grass while leaves, forbs, coarse and dry grasses are a good supplement to its usual diet.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
Year-round, peak occures in December-June
PREGNANCY DURATION
270-280 days
BABY CARRYING
1 calf
INDEPENDENT AGE
9 months
FEMALE NAME
cow
MALE NAME
bull
BABY NAME
calf

Gaurs have polygynous mating system, where one male mates with a number of females. During the mating season, males give out calls of clear resonant tones, in order to attract receptive females. Meanwhile, bigger males are more successful in capturing the attention of females. They breed all year round with peak period, lasting from December to June. Female Gaurs usually have an interval of 12-15 months between births. Gestation period lasts about 270-280 days, yielding a single baby. A newborn Gaur calf weighs 23 Kgs (50 Ibs) on average. At the age of 9 months, the calf is weaned. Sexual maturity is reached at 2-3 years old.

Population

Population threats

One of the most considerable threats is the loss of habitat throughout most of their range. Another serious concern is susceptibility to domestic cattle diseases like rinderpest, hoof or mouth disease. In addition, this animal attracts hunters for its horns and is hunted for sport.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total number of Gaur population varies from 13,000 to 30,000 individuals. On the IUCN Red List, the species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) with a decreasing population trend.

Ecological niche

Living in humid and dry deciduous forests of India, Gaurs play crucial role in the ecosystem of their habitat: they greatly impact physical structure of the area, control plant communities as well as processes of the ecosystem.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Even unprovoked, Gaurs can display extremely aggressive behavior, attacking and inflicting lethal injuries with their horns.
  • The famous energy drink "Red Bull" is based on the Thai drink "Gratin Daang”, meaning "red gaur".
  • Bull Gaurs use the herd call, which makes the herd stop and converge. In addition, they give out roaring call, which can last for hours during the mating season.
  • It is very difficult for humans to approach Gaurs since they are extremely shy and cautious animals.
  • A Gaur, born in 2001, became the first cloned animal among endangered species.

References

1. Gaur Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaur
2. Gaur on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/2891/0

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