Banteng are considered one of the most beautiful cow species, their striking coats and white "socks" as well as impressive horns and big black eyes set them apart from other bovines. Male Banteng sport dark brown coats with white stockings and are very muscular with large curved horns. Females are red in color with white stockings and also have horns, although less impressive then their male counterparts.
Banteng are found in many different parts of South East Asia. There are 3 subspecies; Bos javanicus
javanicus on Java and Bali, Bos javanicus lowi on Borneo and Bos javanicus birmanicus on the Asian
Although banteng can be found in many places, there are only about 8000 wild banteng altogether. They
live in different habitats in different areas including open dry deciduous forest and more densely forested
areas. Here you would often find them living in small groups. This group would usually include females and their offspring of different ages and perhaps an adult male. Males might live on their own or form groups with other males. In the breeding season males compete to be the most dominant, which means they get to mate with more females. Large groups are made up of up to 100 animals are sometimes seen but these are normally for a short time period. Where they have been studied in the wild, banteng are active both during the day and at night, swapping between resting and moving around or eating. If you were watching them in the wild you might expect to see more of them at dawn and dusk when they often emerge from thicker forest into open areas to find food and socialise.
Because they are shy and hard to see, you might expect that wild banteng should be safe from human
impacts, but this is not the case.
The main threats to banteng are hunting and habitat loss.
Banteng are often hunted for their meat and their horns, for use as medicine and for sport hunting. In many areas loss of habitat has made it easier for hunters to get near to the banteng. In many places where they live banteng are losing their habitat as it is changed into farmland or developed in other ways.
Where banteng live near people and domesticated cattle, there is also risk of catching diseases from
domestic cattle and breeding with domestic cattle.
The Global Species Management Plan
Whilst it is sad to think that these animals are declining, the good news is that many people are working hard to try to help them. Zoos, governments and conservation organisations from around the world are working together to save the banteng through a Global Species Management Plan. The plan brings together experts and has details of actions which will be taken to save the banteng from extinction. Breeding them in zoos in Indonesia and across the world is a really important part of this plan.
It’s also really important to find out all that we can about banteng both in zoos and in the wild. Research will help guide best practice in caring for and breeding these animals in zoos and support healthy populations to prevent the banteng from going extinct. Working with communities and raising awareness of the threats banteng face aims to reduce hunting and increase protection of wild populations.
We also want people like you to know just how amazing and special banteng are and that they are worth protecting!
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Banteng are considered some of the worlds most beautiful cows because of their sleek beautiful coat and white stockings.