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 a 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 the sides of their heads. Their horns have a 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.

Di

Diurnal

He

Herbivore

Fo

Folivore

Gr

Graminivore

Te

Terrestrial

Pr

Precocial

Gr

Grazing

Br

Browsing

Vi

Viviparous

Po

Polygyny

So

Social

He

Herding

Do

Dominance hierarchy

No

Not a migrant

G

starts with

Gi

Giant Animals
(collection)

Distribution

Geography

Gaurs are found throughout mainland South and Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Nepal. These animals don’t migrate and live in evergreen forests or semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, and also occur in deciduous forest areas at the periphery of their range. Gaur prefer large, relatively undisturbed forest tracts, hilly terrain, availability of water, and an abundance of forage in the form of grasses, bamboo, shrubs, and trees.

Gaur habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Generally, gaur 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. The 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".

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Gaur are herbivorous animals. Being both grazers and browsers, these bovine feed 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 occurs 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

Gaur 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 a peak period, lasting from December to June. Female Gaurs usually have an interval of 12-15 months between births. The 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 and becomes reproductively mature when it is 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 gaur population varies from 15,000 to 35,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

Living in humid and dry deciduous forests of India, gaur play a crucial role in the ecosystem of their habitat: they greatly impact the physical structure of the area, and 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 calls, 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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