Two calves were born this spring to the Edinburgh Zoo’s herd of Banteng, an endangered species of wild Asian Cattle.
Photo Credits: Andy Catlin (1), Maria Dorrian (2,4), Edinburgh Zoo (3, 5, 6, 7, 8)
The first calf was born on February 15 and is a male, and the second calf, a female, was born on March 11. The two youngsters, who have not yet been named, can be seen with their family in the zoo’s outdoor paddock. Keepers report that though the two calves will stay close to their mothers until they are six to nine months old, they often prance and jump with other members of the zoo’s herd. Banteg are social animals that live in herds of up to 40 individuals.
The zoo is hopeful that the two Banteng calves will contribute to the conservation of this endangered species in the future.
Banteng, also known as Tembadau, are a species of wild Cattle found in Southeast Asia that feed on grasses, bamboo, leaves, and fruits. Calves of both sexes are born with light brown coats. It is easy to distinguish between the sexes as they mature: Males have a dark brown coat, while females are light brown with a dark strip down the back.
Listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Banteng are threatened by illegal hunting and habitat loss. In Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, this species faces local extinction. Interbreeding with domestic cattle has caused hybridization, thereby contaminating the gene pool and increasing the transmission of diseases with domestic cattle.
See more photos of the Bantengs below.