Indian Bison (Gaur)

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 28, 2023, 12:58

Indian Bison (Gaur) is a South and Southeast Asian bovine that has been designated as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List since 1986. In India, poaching for export, opportunistic hunting, and specialized hunting for personal consumption threaten the Gaur population.

They were particularly sought after in the 1990s due to their commercial importance.

Characteristics of Indian Bison (Gaur)

Indian Bison (Gaur) has a sturdy build with a convex ridge on their forehead. Moreover, it has enormous ears and a conspicuous edge along its back. Also, the grown-up male is dim brown and changes to dark when it ages, and the younger ones are light in colour.

The body length of a Gaur is 250-360 cms, with a height of 170-220 cms. Males weigh between 1000-and 1500 kg and females between 700-and 1000 kg. Also, Gaurs have a lifespan of twenty-six years in captivity.

Habitat of Indian Bison (Gaur)

A typical gaur habitat consists of large, undisturbed forest tracts, hilly terrain, accessibility to water, and an enormous presence of sufficient food.

One can find Indian Bison (Gaur) in parts of India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, and Nepal.

Indian Bison (Gaur) - Mating Habits

The peak breed year period of Indian Bison (Gaur) is from December to June. Female Gaurs usually take an interval time of 12-15 months between births.

The gestation period may last about 270-280 days for yielding a single baby.

Indian Bison (Gaur) Cloning

On January 8, 2001, the first cloned Gaur was born at Trans Ova Genetics in Sioux Center, Iowa. A domestic cow acted as a surrogate mother. The calf died 48 hours after delivery from diarrhoea.

Population Exercise of Indian Bison (Gaur)

In Nilgiris, the Forest Division conducted the first population exercise on Indian Bison (Gaur).

They identified that more than 2000 gaurs live in the district, and animals live in conflict-prone areas close to human inhabitation.

Sniffer Dogs to Save Indian Bisons (Gaur)

Recently, forest officials recovered an Indian Bison's (Gaur) carcass in the Gorumara National Park. To find the culprit, they used sniffer dogs. Orlando, a sniffer dog, facilitated the arrest of the culprit.

According to the Additional District Forest Officer, he killed Gaur for their meat, skin, and horns.

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Indian Bison (Gaur) in Indian National Parks

The following are population estimates of Indian Bison (Gaur) in various national parks, reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries across India, according to IUCN.

  • 2000 Indian Bisons (Gaur) in Bandipur National Park
  • 2000 Indian Bisons (Gaur) in Nagarhole National Park
  • 1000 individuals in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
  • 500-1000 Gaurs in Silent Valley
  • 700 Gaurs in Periyar Tiger Reserve
  • 800 in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

Captive Breeding for Indian Bison (Gaur)

Recently, the conservation breeding of Indian Bison (Gaur) started at the Mysuru Institution, the Central Zoo Authority's conservation breeding coordinating zoo. The Mysuru Zoo has a long history of successfully breeding tigers and giraffes in captivity.

Following selection, the Forest Department will transport the breeding wild Gaur pairs to Mysuru and the partner zoos to begin the breeding process.

The CBP has identified around 73 species for captive reproduction in selected zoos, with 35 species receiving priority funding assistance, including Indian Bison (Gaur). The Centre funds 60% of the breeding program, while the state gives the remaining funds for infrastructure development.

Indian Bison (Gaur) are endangered animals included in "Schedule 1" of the Wild Life Protection Act 1972. Interestingly, India has 85% of the global Gaurs population.

Moreover, Gaurs are protected throughout their range since they are listed in CITES Appendix I. CITES, or the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora," is a global agreement that safeguards endangered plants and animals.

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FAQs on Indian Bison (Gaur)

Q1. How fast is Indian Bison (Gaur)?

An Indian Bison (Gaur) fastest speed can be around 56 kilometres per hour.

Q2. What's the total population of Indian Bison (Gaur) globally?

The estimated total population of Indian Bison (Gaur) is around 13,000 to 30,000 individuals worldwide. You can find 85% of the global Gaur population in India.

Q3. Who are the enemies of the Indian Bisons (Gaur)?

Leopards, dhole packs, and large mugger crocodiles attack unprotected calves or sick Indian Bison (Gaur). They avoid attacking healthy and adult males because of their sturdy build. Nevertheless, humans remain the biggest enemy of Indian Bison.

Q4. Do Bovine diseases affect Indian Bison Gaur?

Unlike other cattle breeds, the Bovine disease or mad cow disease cannot affect the Indian Bison (Gaur). They are more resistant than other breeds of animals.