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The taxonomic record (above) is taken from Wilson and Reeder (1993). The gaur is the only member of the subgenus Bibos [Hodgson, 1837], which has been elevated to a genus by some authorities (see Nowak, 1991; Wilson and Reeder, 1993). Three wild subspecies are generally recognized, B. f. gaurus of India, the Indochinese gaur, B. f. readei, and the Malayan gaur, B. f. hubbacki. Bos frontalis was previously used solely for the domestic gayal, with Bos gaurus referring to the wild gaur, although both are now grouped in B. frontalis (Wilson and Reeder, 1993). Additional invalid synonyms for B. frontalis include annamiticus, asseel, brachyrhinus, cavifrons, fuscicornis, guavera, hubbacki, laosiensis, platyceros, readei, subhemachalus, sylhetanus, and sylvanus (Wilson and Reeder, 1993).
Click on the pictures above for a larger view of the photographs
Body Length: 250-330 cm / 8.3-11 ft.
Shoulder Height: 170-220 cm / 5.6-7.2 ft.
Tail Length: 70-100 cm / 28-40 in.
Weight: 700-1000 kg / 1540-2200 lb.
The dark brown coat is short and dense, while the lower legs are white to tan in colour. There is a dewlap under the chin which extends between the front legs. There is a shoulder hump which is especially pronounced in adult males. The horns are found in both sexes, and grow from the sides of the head, curving upwards. Yellow at the base and turning black at the tips, they grow to a length of 80 cm / 32 inches. A bulging grey-tan ridge connects the horns on the forehead.
Ontogeny and Reproduction
Gestation Period: 275 days.
Young per Birth: 1, rarely 2
Weaning: 7-9 months.
Sexual Maturity: In the 2nd and 3rd year.
Life span: About 30 years.
Breeding takes place throughout the year, though there is a peak between December and June.
Ecology and Behavior
Where gaurs have not been disturbed, they are basically diurnal, being most active in the morning and late afternoon and resting during the hottest time of the day. However, where populations have been molested by human populations, the gaur has become largely nocturnal, rarely seen in the open after 8:00 in the morning. During the dry season, herds congregate and remain in small areas, dispersing into the hills with the arrival of the monsoon. While gaurs are dependent on water for drinking, they do not seem to bathe or wallow. When alarmed, gaurs crash into the jungle at a surprising speed. Gaurs live in herds led by a single adult male. During the peak of the breeding season, unattached males wander widely in search of receptive females. No serious fighting has been recorded between males, with size being the major factor in determining dominance. Males make a mating call of clear, resonant tones which may carry for more than 1.6 kilometers. Gaurs have also been known to make a whistling snort as an alarm call, and a low, cow-like moo. The average population density is about 0.6 animals per square kilometer, with herds having home ranges of around 80 square kilometers.
Family group: Small mixed herds of 2-40 individuals. Adult males may be solitary.
Diet: Grasses, shoots and fruit.
Main Predators: Tiger, leopard.
Tropical woodlands in India, Indochina, and the Malay Peninsula.
Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia), Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Viet Nam (IUCN, 2002).
Range Map (Redrawn from Corbet and Hill, 1992)
The gaur is classified as vulnerable (Criteria: A1cd+2cd, C1+2a) by the IUCN (2002), and is on Appendix I of CITES [excluding the domestic B. f. frontalis] (2003).
Gaurs have been domesticated in India for work and meat - dubbed the gayal, the domestic form is smaller than its wild counterpart. The gaur is also known as the seladang.
Gaur (pronounced "GOWr") is a Hindustani name for this wild ox. Bos (Latin) an ox. Frons (Latin), genitive frontis, the forehead, brow; -alis (Latin) suffix meaning relating to: the forehead between the horns is a contrasting grey, a unique characteristic among cattle.
- Gaur (Buchholtz, 1990)
- Gaur (Buchholtz, 1990)
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