Water buffalo

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Water Buffalo{{#if: |
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A family of Water Buffalo bathing in a sinkhole, Taiwan
A family of Water Buffalo bathing
in a sinkhole, Taiwan
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Conservation status


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Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
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Tribe: Bovini
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Genus: Bubalus
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Species: B. bubalis
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Binomial name
Bubalus bubalis
(Linnaeus, 1758)}}
Trinomial name
Type genus
Type species


Type strain

The Water Buffalo is a large ungulate and a member of the bovine subfamily. The wild Arni still survives in the wild in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand. The domestication of the water buffalo is prominent in Asia, South America. They are feral in northern Australia. Wild-living populations also exist in much of South-east Asia. They may be descendants of wild Water Buffalo, formerly domesticated ferals or a mixture. In Asia, the population of wild water buffalo has become sparse, and it is feared that no pure-bred wild water buffalo exists.

Buffaloes, apart from their use as draught (see also draught horse) and milch animals, are also used to pull bullock carts in developing world. Their dung is used as a fertilizer and as a fuel when dried. In Chonburi, Thailand, there are annual water buffalo races. A few have also found use as pack animals carrying loads even for special forces.


[edit] Anatomy and morphology

Water buffalo bull

Adult water buffalo range in size from 300 kg to 600 kg for the domestic bred. Adult females typically weigh around 800 kg, and males up to 1200 kg. The average weight of an adult male is 900 kg, and the average height at the shoulder is about 1.7m. Weights can vary greatly even in populations which are in close proximity. Interbreeding with domesticated buffaloes is the major cause of extinction of wild buffaloes. Buffaloes are believed to have originated in South Asia.

[edit] Taxonomic history

The classification of the water buffalo is uncertain. Some authorities list a single species, Bubalus bubalis with three subspecies, the river buffalo (B. bubalis bubalis) of South Asia, the Carabao or Swamp Buffalo (B. bubalis carabanesis) of the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and the Arni, or wild buffalo, (B. bubalis arnee). Others regard these as closely-related, but separate, species. The swamp buffalo is primarily found in the eastern half of Asia and has 48 chromosomes. The river buffalo is mostly found in western half of Asia, and has 50 chromosomes. Fertile offspring occur between the two. It does not readily hybridise with cattle which have 60 chromosomes.

[edit] Distribution

[edit] Asia

Water Buffalo in Thailand

Asia is the native home of the water buffalo, with 95% of the world population of water buffalo, with about half of the total in India. Many Asian countries depend on the water buffalo as its primary bovine species. It is valuable for its meat and milk as well as the labour it performs. As of 1992 the Asian population was estimated at 141 million. The fat content of buffalo milk is the highest amongst farm animals and the butterfat is a major source of ghee in some Asian countries. Its success in Asia is evident by its extensive range. Both variants occur in Asia. River Buffalo are found in elevations of 2,800 m in Nepal, and Swamp Buffalo are found throughout the lowland tropics. Part of their success is due to their ability to thrive on poor foodstuffs and yet be valuable economically. Moreover they are much better suited to plough the muddy paddy fields as they are better adapted than common cattle (Bos taurus) to move in swamps.

In the wild, very few pockets of buffalo exist. The Indian wild buffalo is found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand. This buffalo has the largest horns of any living animal. The average spread is about 1 m (3 ft 3 in), but one bull shot in 1955 had horns measuring 4.24 m (13 ft 11 in) from tip to tip along the outside curve across the forehead. Buffalo use their horns effectively to defend themselves against predators. Tigers are their only predators, which can kill a full-grown male weighing 1000-1200kg, but only an experienced tiger will take them on. When faced by a tiger, they form a line facing the predator and charge with noses out and horns laid back. Like its other family members, the tamaraw and the anoa, the wild buffalo is a very dangerous animal. It is generally found in swamplands and grass jungles and moves in herds.

Today, the estimated population of wild water buffaloes are about 4000, but, this number takes into account all wild population, including feral herds and hybrid buffaloes. In fact, it is possible that no true wild specimens exist anymore.

A smaller breed of Water buffalo, the Carabao, is the national animal of the Philippines.

[edit] Australia

Water buffalo bull

Introduced into the Northern Territory early in the 19th century as a beast of burden, it quickly escaped and is now feral. As a result of its feral status it may be hunted. Melville Island is a popular hunting location, where a steady population of up to 4,000 individuals exist. Buffaloes are also found in Arnhem Land and the Top End. Safari outfits run out of Darwin to Melville Island and other locations in the Top End often with the use of bush pilots. The government has unsuccessfully attempted several eradication programs. Their only natural predator in Australia is the Estuarine Crocodile - however the very largest specimens are probably too large to be taken.

The buffaloes live mainly in freshwater marshes and billabongs, and their range can be quite expansive during the Wet season. They have developed a different appearance from the Indonesian buffaloes from which they descend.

[edit] Europe and Middle East

Introduced into North Africa and the Near East by 600 AD, the water buffalo was brought to Europe with returning Crusaders in the Middle Ages, and herds can be found in Bulgaria, Romania and Italy. As in Asia, buffaloes of the Middle East and Europe live on coarse vegetation on the marginal land traditionally available to peasants. They are an economic asset by serving as a protein source, draft animal, and storage of family or household wealth. In some areas, they also provide occasional recreation at annual racing festivals. These buffalo are mostly River Buffaloes; due to genetic isolation have adopted a distinct appearance. Buffalo milk is used in Italy and elsewhere for the production of cheese, including mozzarella.

[edit] North America

There are very limited commercial herds in Noware Land , for yogurt and cheese products.[1]

File:Me with 02 heifers.jpg
Water buffalo heifers in Arkansas, USA

[edit] Importance to humans

Milk from both of these animals is used by many human populations, and is the traditional raw material for mozzarella cheese and curd due to its higher fat content. In Africa and other locations, water buffalo milk is used for yogurt, as in Vermont, USA. The chief dairy breed of Buffalo is the Murrah breed. Buffalo meat, sometimes called "Carabeef", is often passed off as beef in certain regions and is also a major source of export revenue for India which has the largest population of buffaloes in the world. However, in many Asian regions, buffalo meat is less preferred due to its toughness, however, recipes have evolved (Rendang for example) where the slow cooking process and spices not only make the meat palatable, but also preserves it; an important factor in hot climates where refrigeration is not always available. Water buffalo hide provides a tough and useful leather often used for shoes and motorcycle helmets.

[edit] Nutrition

Milk Composition Analysis, per 100 grams

Constituents unit Cow Goat Sheep Buffalo
Water grm 87.8 88.9 83.0 81.1
Protein grm 3.2 3.1 5.4 4.5
Fat grm 3.9 3.5 6.0 8.0
Carbohydrate grm 4.8 4.4 5.1 4.9
Energy K cal 66 60 95 110
K J 275 253 396 463
Sugars (Lactose) grm 4.8 4.4 5.1 4.9
Fatty Acids:
Saturated grm 2.4 2.3 3.8 4.2
Mono-unsaturated grm 1.1 0.8 1.5 1.7
Polyunsaturated grm 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.2
Cholesterol mg 14 10 11 8
Calcium iu 120jgj 100 170 195

Source: McCane, Widdowson, Scherz, Kloos.[2]

[edit] In culture

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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[edit] Original Source

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page was adapted from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Water buffalo. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Wikipedia, WikiPilipinas also allows reuse of content made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike. See full WikiMedia Terms of Use.