The cutest “Pumpkin” in the patch

November 28, 2023

A banteng calf at Marwell zoo

We’re delighted to welcome a new addition to our Endangered banteng herd and she’s the cutest “Pumpkin” in the patch!

The new calf, born to mother Dewi and father Henky on Halloween, is a sister for Raya who was born at Marwell in November 2022. Keepers chose to name her Pumpkin to reflect her birth date on the spookiest day of the year – October 31.

Alex Cam, Assistant Keeper, said: “We can now confirm the name of our newest female banteng calf – Pumpkin! Pumpkin and mum, Dewi, are doing well and Dewi is very attentive to her calf. Pumpkin is mixing in well with the rest of the herd and can often be seen enjoying their outside space when the weather is nice.”

The youngster has been seen frolicking with older members of the herd when they are out in their paddock and is keeping up with her sibling despite being the smallest by a considerable stretch.

The name Pumpkin is particularly fitting given the characteristic caramel-orange toned coats of female and juvenile banteng, which also sport white “socks”. The males have darker coats of conker brown with a thick area of skin between an impressive set of horns that continue growing throughout their life and can reach 75cm in length.

Banteng are one of the rarest cattle species in the world and would have historically been found in Asia, from southern China to northeast India, mainland Asia, Peninsular Malaysia and nearby islands. The number of these impressive cattle continues to decrease in the wild as a result of hunting and habitat loss. It is thought there are around 8,000 of these animals left in the wild.

A banteng calf at Marwell zoo

Their distinctive horns are sought after by trophy hunters as well as for use in medicines and they have historically been hunted for meat. There is evidence that banteng hunting continues across parts of its range and numbers are thought to have decreased by more than 50% in the last 21 years.

In the wild, banteng tend to move in maternal herds of adult females, young cows and calves with a single male or as all bachelor groups. Smaller groups are known to join together for a day or two when grazing in the open as a larger group offers more protection.

Young suckle from their mothers for up to 16 months after which females remain with the herd and males leave at the age of two or three years old to join a bachelor group. Marwell’s banteng herd can be found at the rear of the park between the bush dog and red panda habitats.

Conservation charity Marwell Wildlife owns and operates Marwell Zoo which covers 140 acres and includes play parks, eateries and hundreds of rare and exotic animals. Glow Marwell guests and members will be able to visit Pumpkin between 1pm and 4pm during our Glow Marwell event. The zoo will revert to normal operating times after Glow Marwell concludes on 30 December.