Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wild Water Buffalo

The wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee), also known as the Asian buffalo and wild Asian water buffalo, has four subspecies: (a) B. a. arnee found in small pockets of India and Nepal; (b) B. a. fulvus found in Assam, in India; (c) B. a. theerapati found in Bhuthan, Thailand and Cambodia; and (d) B. a. migona found in Sri Lanka. They are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List and have been since 1986. There are an estimated 3,400 in the wild, of which 91% live in India.
Wild water buffaloes in Minneriya NP. Open-billed storks in the foreground.
Wild buffalo weigh between 1,300 and 2,600 pounds, heavier than domestic buffalo. Both males and females have horns that are heavy at the base and spread up to 79 inches, longer than any other Bovid, which includes the African buffalo, wildebeest, musk oxen, domestic cattle, etc. Their skin is ash gray to black and their hair is coarse and sparse. The tip of the tail is bushy and they have large and splayed hooves. 
Just out of a mud hole in Yala NP. 
Cooling off in the heat of Yala NP.
The same water buffalo with ears showing. 
In Yala NP.
In Udawalawe NP.
Although the Sri Lankan wild buffaloes are in the subspecies migona, many scientists believe they are not true wild water buffaloes, but are feral descendants of introduced domestic buffaloes. However, at least one study says there are indigenous wild water buffalo in Sri Lanka. Whatever the origin, they live wild and they can be very dangerous. Sanjay, our guide, noted that the leopards are only afraid of one animal, the wild water buffalo. 

Mud hole in Yala NP.
Mud hole in Yala NP.
In Udawalawe NP.
We saw large herds of wild water buffaloes in Minneriya National Park, basking at the edges of the reservoir; quite a few different groups in Yala National Park; and a few wild and feral domestic water buffaloes in Udawalawe National Park. 
Two pond herons perched on what Sanjay said was a feral domestic water buffalo in Udawalawe NP. 

1 comment:

  1. They always looked so docile and amiable. It's hard to believe they are so dangerous.