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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.