Common Name: Banteng
Scientific Name: Bos Javanicus
The impressive horns of male bantengs can grow to reach a span of 75 cm.
Bantengs will alter their foraging pattern and location in response to disturbances from human activities and potential threats by predators.
When grazing in open areas, small herds of bantengs protect themselves from predators by grouping together with other small herds into much larger assemblages.
Head and body: 190 - 225 cm. Height to shoulder: 150 - 175 cm
11 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity
In the wild
Bantengs are predominantly grazers, but where grasses are scarce or of poor quality, they supplement their diet with sedges, herbs, bamboo, as well as leaves, fruit, flowers, bark, and young branches of woody shrubs and trees; including palms.
Bantengs prefer open, dry deciduous forests and sub-tropical grasslands with areas of mixed forest cover. Forest edges, clearings, and riverbanks are important for foraging and socialising. Although access to a permanent water supply is preferred, allowing banteng to drink large quantities freely and often, they are able to survive without water for a number of days in the dry season. These shy animals prefer to graze undisturbed and therefore tend to forage at dawn and dusk in open clearings, returning to the safely of forest cover for resting and ruminating in the heat of the day. In areas where settlements encroach on their ranges, banteng have been known to forage at night.
Bantengs tend to move in maternal herds of adult females, young cows, and calves or as all male bachelor groups. Sometimes a number of groups will join together temporarily for protection whilst grazing in the open. These larger assemblages last only one or two days during which banteng socialise and re-establish hierarchies. During the mating season male groups will split up and dominant males compete for mating rights. Cows give birth to one calf, usually during the wet season (January – February) when grazing is abundant. Calves will continue to suckle from their mothers for up to 16 months, after which male calves leave the herd between 2 to 3 years old, and females remain, often beyond maturity.
Apart from humans, the banteng has few predators due to its size. However, leopards and Asiatic wild dogs (dholes) will predate on calves, elderly or weaker animals.
The majority of wild banteng populations are living within protected areas and reserves.
The main threats to the species are habitat loss and unsustainable hunting for their meat and horns. Where human settlements overlap with banteng ranges the genetic integrity of the species is threatened by hybridisation as a result of interbreeding with domestic cattle. In these areas, parasites and diseases carried by domesticated cattle can also pose a threat to wild banteng populations. Reintroductions of juvenile, captive-bred bantengs are currently being monitored in areas of Thailand where they were previously extinct.
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