A Banteng calf was born at Burgers’ Zoo on April 12! The little bull is healthy and weighed-in at about 15 kilos (33 lbs.). Although he is currently sporting a brown coat, within his first year, it will eventually change to a black color.
The Banteng (Bos javanicus), also known as ‘tembadau’, is a species of wild cattle native to Southeast Asia.
Banteng have been domesticated in several places in Southeast Asia, and there are around 1.5 million domestic Banteng (called Bali cattle). These animals are used as working animals and for their meat. Banteng have also been introduced to Northern Australia, where they have established stable feral populations.
The Banteng is similar in size to domesticated cattle, measuring 1.55 to 1.65 m (5 ft 1 in to 5 ft 5 in) tall at the shoulder and 2.45–3.5 m (8 ft 0 in–11 ft 6 in) in total length, including a tail 60 cm (2.0 ft) long. Body weight can range from 400 to 900 kg (880 to 1,980 lb).
The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, allowing the sexes to be readily distinguished by color and size. In mature males, the short-haired coat is blue-black or dark chestnut in color, while in females and young it is chestnut with a dark dorsal stripe. Both males and females have white stockings on their lower legs, a white rump, a white muzzle, and white spots above the eyes.
Their build is similar to that of domesticated cattle, but with a comparatively slender neck and small head, and a ridge on the back above the shoulders. The horns of females are short and tightly curved, pointing inward at the tips, while those of males arc upwards, growing 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) long, and being connected by a horn-like bald patch on the forehead.
Banteng prefer to live in sparse forests where they feed on grasses, bamboo, fruit, leaves, and young branches. They are generally active both night and day. But in places where humans are common, they adopt a nocturnal schedule. Banteng tend to gather in herds of two to 30 members.
The wild Banteng is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The populations on the Asian mainland have decreased by about 80% in the last decades. The total number of wild Banteng is estimated to about 5,000-8,000 animals. Reasons for the population decline are: reduction of habitat, hunting, hybridization with domesticated cattle, and infections with cattle diseases.
The most important stronghold for the species is Java, with the biggest populations in Ujung Kulon National Park and Baluran National Park.