The water buffalo (
Bubalus bubalis) or domestic Asian water buffalo is
a large bovid originating in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China.
Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, North America, South
America and some African countries. The wild water buffalo (Bubalus
arnee) native to
Southeast Asia is considered a different species, but
most likely represents the ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.
Two extant types of domestic water buffalo are recognized based on
morphological and behavioural criteria – the river buffalo of South
Asia and further west to the Balkans, Egypt, and Italy, and the swamp
buffalo, found from
Assam in the west through
Southeast Asia to the
Yangtze valley of
China in the east. The origins of the domestic
water buffalo types are debated, although results of a phylogenetic
study indicate that the swamp type may have originated in
was domesticated about 4,000 years ago, while the river type may have
India and was domesticated about 5,000 years ago.
Water buffalo were traded from the
Indus Valley Civilisation
Indus Valley Civilisation to
Mesopotamia, in modern Iraq, 2500 BC by the Meluhhas. The seal of a
scribe employed by an
Akkadian king shows the sacrifice of water
At least 130 million domestic water buffalo exist, and more people
depend on them than on any other domestic animal. They are
especially suitable for tilling rice fields, and their milk is richer
in fat and protein than that of dairy cattle. The large feral
population of northern
Australia became established in the late 19th
century, and smaller feral herds are in New Guinea, Tunisia, and
Feral herds are also present in New
Britain, New Ireland, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Guyana,
Suriname, Brazil, and Uruguay.
2 Ecology and behavior
3 Taxonomic history
Domestication and breeding
5 Distribution of populations
5.1 In Asia
Europe and the Mediterranean
5.3 In Australia
5.4 In South America
5.5 In North America
6.1 Dairy products
Meat and skin products
6.3 Bone and horn products
7 Environmental effects
9 In culture
9.1 Fighting festivals
9.2 Racing festivals
9.3 Religious festival
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Water buffalo skull.
A water buffalo in Thailand
An albino swamp buffalo in Chiang Mai province, Thailand
The skin of river buffalo is black, but some specimens may have dark,
slate-coloured skin. Swamp buffalo have a grey skin at birth, but
become slate blue later. Albinoids are present in some populations.
River buffalo have comparatively longer faces, smaller girths, and
bigger limbs than swamp buffalo. Their dorsal ridges extend further
back and taper off more gradually. Their horns grow downward and
backward, then curve upward in a spiral. Swamp buffalo are
heavy-bodied and stockily built; the body is short and the belly
large. The forehead is flat, the eyes prominent, the face short, and
the muzzle wide. The neck is comparatively long, and the withers and
croup are prominent. A dorsal ridge extends backward and ends abruptly
just before the end of the chest. Their horns grow outward, and curve
in a semicircle, but always remain more or less on the plane of the
forehead. The tail is short, reaching only to the hocks. Height at
withers is 129–133 cm (51–52 in) for males, and
120–127 cm (47–50 in) for females. They range in weight
from 300–550 kg (660–1,210 lb), but weights of over
1,000 kg (2,200 lb) have also been observed.
Tedong bonga is a black pied buffalo featuring a unique black and
white colouration that is favoured by the
Toraja of Sulawesi.
The swamp buffalo has 48 chromosomes; the river buffalo has 50
chromosomes. The two types do not readily interbreed, but fertile
offspring can occur. Buffalo-cattle hybrids have not been observed to
occur, but the embryos of such hybrids reach maturity in laboratory
experiments, albeit at lower rates than non-hybrids.
The rumen of the water buffalo has important differences from that of
other ruminants. It contains a larger population of bacteria,
particularly the cellulolytic bacteria, lower protozoa, and higher
fungi zoospores. In addition, higher rumen ammonia nitrogen (NH4-N)
and higher pH have been found as compared to those in cattle.
Ecology and behavior
Water buffalo enjoy being in water.
Water buffalo wallowing in mud
River buffalo prefer deep water. Swamp buffalo prefer to wallow in
mudholes which they make with their horns. During wallowing, they
acquire a thick coating of mud. Both are well adapted to a hot and
humid climate with temperatures ranging from 0 °C (32 °F)
in the winter to 30 °C (86 °F) and greater in the summer.
Water availability is important in hot climates, since they need
wallows, rivers, or splashing water to assist in thermoregulation.
Some breeds are adapted to saline seaside shores and saline sandy
Water buffalo thrive on many aquatic plants and during floods, will
graze submerged, raising their heads above the water and carrying
quantities of edible plants. They eat reeds, Arundo donax, a kind of
Cyperaceae, Eichhornia crassipes, and Juncaceae. Some of these plants
are of great value to local peoples. Others, such as E. crassipes, are
a major problem in some tropical valleys and water buffalo may help to
keep waterways clear.
Green fodders are used widely for intensive milk production and for
fattening. Many fodder crops are conserved as hay, chaffed, or pulped.
Fodders include alfalfa, the leaves, stems or trimmings of banana,
cassava, Mangelwurzel, esparto,
Leucaena leucocephala and kenaf,
maize, oats, Pandanus, peanut, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane, bagasse,
Citrus pulp and pineapple wastes have been fed safely to
buffalo. In Egypt, whole sun-dried dates are fed to milk buffalo up to
25% of the standard feed mixture.
A water buffalo calf in India
Swamp buffalo generally become reproductive at an older age than river
breeds. Young males in Egypt, India, and
Pakistan are first mated at
about 3.0–3.5 years of age, but in
Italy they may be used as early
as 2 years of age. Successful mating behaviour may continue until the
animal is 12 years or even older. A good river male can impregnate 100
females in a year. A strong seasonal influence on mating occurs. Heat
stress reduces libido.
Although buffalo are polyoestrous, their reproductive efficiency shows
wide variation throughout the year. Buffalo cows exhibit a distinct
seasonal change in displaying oestrus, conception rate, and calving
rate. The age at first oestrus of heifers varies between breeds
from 13–33 months, but mating at the first oestrus is often
infertile and usually deferred until they are 3 years old. Gestation
lasts from 281–334 days, but most reports give a range between 300
and 320 days. Swamp buffalo carry their calves for one or two weeks
longer than river buffalo. It is not rare to find buffalo that
continue to work well at the age of 30, and instances of a working
life of 40 years are recorded.
Carl Linnaeus first described the genus
Bos and the water buffalo
under the binomial
Bos bubalis in 1758; the species was known to occur
in Asia and was held as a domestic form in Italy. Ellerman and
Morrison-Scott treated the wild and domestic forms of the water
buffalo as conspecifics, whereas others treated them as different
species. The nomenclatorial treatment of wild and domestic forms
has been inconsistent and varies between authors and even within the
works of single authors.
In March 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
achieved consistency in the naming of wild and domestic water buffalo
by ruling that the scientific name
Bubalus arnee is valid for the wild
form. B. bubalis continues to be valid for the domestic form and
applies also to feral populations.
Domestication and breeding
Murrah buffalo at the Philippine
Water buffalo were domesticated in
Indian subcontinent about 5000
years ago, and in
China about 4000 years ago. Two types are
recognized, based on morphological and behavioural criteria – the
river buffalo of the
Indian subcontinent and further west to the
Balkans and Italy, and the swamp buffalo, found from
Assam in the west
Southeast Asia to the Yangtze valley of
China in the east.
The present-day river buffalo is the result of complex domestication
processes involving more than one maternal lineage and a significant
maternal gene flow from wild populations after the initial
domestication events. Twenty-two breeds of the river type water
buffalo are known, including Murrah, NiliRavi, Surti, Jafarabadi,
Anatolian, Mediterranean, and Egyptian buffalo.
China has a huge
variety of buffalo genetic resources, comprising 16 local swamp
buffalo breeds in various regions.
Results of mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that the two types were
Sequencing of cytochrome b genes of
Bubalus species implies that the domestic buffalo originated from at
least two populations, and that the river and the swamp types have
differentiated at the full species level. The genetic distance between
the two types is so large that a divergence time of about 1.7 million
years has been suggested. The swamp type was noticed to have the
closest relationship with the tamaraw.
Distribution of populations
Carabao buffalo in the Philippines
The water buffalo population in the world is about 172 million.
Carabao cart in the
Philippines in 1899
More than 95.8% of the world population of water buffalo are found in
Asia, including both river and swamp types. The water buffalo
India numbered over 97.9 million head in 2003,
representing 56.5% of the world population. They are primarily of the
river type, with 10 well-defined breeds comprising Badhawari, Murrah,
Nili-Ravi, Jafarabadi, Marathwada, Mehsana, Nagpuri, Pandharpuri,
Toda, and Surti. Swamp buffalo occur only in small areas in the
north-eastern part of the country and are not distinguished into
In 2003, the second-largest population lived in China, with 22.76
million head, all of the swamp type with breeds kept only in the
lowlands, and other breeds kept only in the mountains; as of 2003, 3.2
million swamp-type carabao buffalo were in the Philippines, nearly
three million swamp buffalo were in Vietnam, and 772,764 buffalo were
in Bangladesh. About 750,000 head were estimated in
Sri Lanka in
1997. In Japan, water buffalo is domestic animal throughout the
Ryukyuan islands or Okinawa prefecture. It was also recorded that
889,246 buffalo were in Nepal.
The water buffalo is the main dairy animal in Pakistan, with 23.47
million head in 2010. Of these, 76% are kept in the Punjab. The
rest of them are mostly in the province of Sindh. Breeds used are
NiliRavi, Kundi, and Azi Kheli.
Karachi has the largest population
of water buffalos for an area where fodder is not grown, consisting of
350,000 head kept mainly for milking.
In Thailand, the number of water buffalo dropped from more than 3
million head in 1996 to less than 1.24 million head in 2011.
Slightly over 75% of them are kept in the country's northeastern
region. The statistics also indicate that by the beginning of 2012,
less than one million were in the country, partly as a result of
illegal shipments to neighboring countries where sales prices are
higher than in Thailand.
Water buffalo are also present in the southern region of
Iraq in the
Mesopotamian Marshes. The draining of the
Mesopotamian Marshes by
Saddam Hussein was an attempt to punish the south for the 1991
uprisings in Iraq. After 2003 and the Firdos Square statue
destruction, these lands were reflooded and a 2007 report on Maysan
and Dhi Qar shows a steady increase in the number of water buffalo.
The report puts the number at 40,008 head in those two provinces.
Europe and the Mediterranean
Water buffalo were probably introduced to
India or other
Oriental countries. In Italy, the
Agilulf is said to
have received water buffalo in about the year 600. These were probably
a present from the Khan of the Avars, a Turkic nomadic tribe that
dwelt near the
Danube River at the time. Sir H. Johnston knew of a
herd of water buffalo presented by a
King of Naples
King of Naples to the Bey of
Tunis in the mid-19th century that had resumed the feral state in
European buffalo are all of the river type and considered to be of the
same breed named Mediterranean buffalo. In Italy, the Mediterranean
type was particularly selected and is called Mediterranean Italian
breed to distinguish it from other European breeds, which differ
genetically. Mediterranean buffalo are also found in Romania,
Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Kosovo, and the Republic of Macedonia, with
a few hundred in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands,
Switzerland, and Hungary. Little exchange of breeding buffalo has
occurred among countries, so each population has its own phenotypic
features and performances. In Bulgaria, they were crossbred with the
Indian Murrah breed, and in Romania, some were crossbred with
Bulgarian Murrah. Populations in
Turkey are of the Anatolian
A feral water buffalo in Australia
Between 1824 and 1849, water buffalo were introduced into the Northern
Territory from Timor, Kisar, and probably other islands in the
Indonesian archipelago. In 1886, a few milking types were brought from
India to Darwin. They have been the main grazing animals on the
subcoastal plains and river basins between Darwin and Arnhem Land
since the 1880s. In the early 1960s, an estimated population of
150,000 to 200,000 buffalo were living in the plains and nearby
They became feral and are causing significant environmental damage.
Buffalo are also found in the Top End. As a result, they were hunted
Top End from 1885 until 1980. The commencement of the
brucellosis and tuberculosis campaign (BTEC) resulted in a huge
culling program to reduce buffalo herds to a fraction of the numbers
that were reached in the 1980s. The BTEC was finished when the
Northern Territory was declared free of the disease in 1997. Numbers
dropped dramatically as a result of the campaign, but have since
recovered to an estimated 150,000 animals across northern
During the 1950s, buffalo were hunted for their skins and meat, which
was exported and used in the local trade. In the late 1970s, live
exports were made to
Cuba and continued later into other countries.
Buffalo are now crossed with riverine buffalo in artificial
insemination programs, and may be found in many areas of Australia.
Some of these crossbreds are used for milk production. Melville Island
is a popular hunting location, where a steady population up to 4,000
individuals exists. Safari outfits are run from Darwin to Melville
Island and other locations in the Top End, often with the use of bush
pilots. The horns, which can measure up to a record of 3.1 m
(10 ft) tip-to-tip, are prized hunting trophies.
The buffalo have developed a different appearance from the Indonesian
buffalo from which they descend. They live mainly in
freshwater marshes and billabongs, and their territory range can be
quite expansive during the wet season. Their only natural predators in
Australia are adult saltwater crocodiles, with whom they share the
billabongs, and dingoes, which have been known to prey on buffalo
calves and occasionally adult buffalo when the dingoes are in large
Buffalo were exported live to
Indonesia until 2011, at a rate of about
3000 per year. After the live export ban that year, the exports
dropped to zero, and had not resumed as of June 2013.
In South America
Murrah buffalo in a Brazilian Farm
Water buffalo were introduced into the
Amazon River basin in 1895.
They are now extensively used there for meat and dairy production. In
2005, the buffalo herd in the Brazilian Amazon stood at roughly 1.6
million head, of which 460,000 were located in the lower Amazon
floodplain. Breeds used include Mediterranean from Italy, Murrah
and Jafarabadi from India, and
Carabao from the Philippines.
During the 1970s, small herds were imported to Costa Rica, Ecuador,
Cayenne, Panama, Surinam, Guyana, and Venezuela.
In Argentina, many game ranches raise water buffalo for commercial
In North America
In 1974, four water buffalo were imported to the United States from
Guam to be studied at the University of Florida. In February 1978, the
first herd arrived for commercial farming. Until 2002, only one
commercial breeder was in the United States.
Water buffalo meat is
imported from Australia. Until 2011, water buffalo were raised in
Gainesville, Florida, from young obtained from zoo overflow. They were
used primarily for meat production, frequently sold as hamburger.
Other US ranchers use them for production of high-quality mozzarella
Water buffalo ploughing rice fields in Java, Indonesia
Water buffalo are used for ploughing in Si Phan Don, Laos.
Water buffalo dung is dried against the façade of a house in Yuanyang
County, Yunnan, China
The husbandry system of water buffalo depends on the purpose for which
they are bred and maintained. Most of them are kept by people who work
on small farms in family units. Their buffalo live in very close
association with them, and are often their greatest capital asset. The
women and girls in
India generally look after the milking buffalo
while the men and boys are concerned with the working animals.
Throughout Asia, they are commonly tended by children who are often
seen leading or riding their charges to wallowing places. Water
buffalo are the ideal animals for work in the deep mud of paddy fields
because of their large hooves and flexible foot joints. They are often
referred to as "the living tractor of the East". It probably is
possible to plough deeper with buffalo than with either oxen or
horses. They are the most efficient and economical means of
cultivation of small fields. In most rice-producing countries, they
are used for threshing and for transporting the sheaves during the
rice harvest. They provide power for oilseed mills, sugarcane presses,
and devices for raising water. They are widely used as pack animals,
Pakistan also for heavy haulage. In their invasions
of Europe, the Turks used buffalo for hauling heavy battering rams.
Their dung is used as a fertilizer, and as a fuel when dried.
Buffalo contribute 72 million tones of milk and three million tones of
meat annually to world food, much of it in areas that are prone to
nutritional imbalances. In India, river-type buffalo are kept mainly
for milk production and for transport, whereas swamp-type buffalo are
kept mainly for work and a small amount of milk.
Further information: List of water buffalo cheeses
Dairy products of water buffalo milk
Water buffalo milk presents physicochemical features different from
that of other ruminant species, such as a higher content of fatty
acids and proteins. The physical and chemical parameters of swamp
and river type water buffalo milk differ.
Water buffalo milk
contains higher levels of total solids, crude protein, fat, calcium,
and phosphorus, and slightly higher content of lactose compared with
those of cow milk. The high level of total solids makes water buffalo
milk ideal for processing into value-added dairy products such as
cheese. The conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content in milk ranged from
4.4 mg/g fat in September to 7.6 mg/g fat in June. Seasons
and genetics may play a role in variation of CLA level and changes in
gross composition of the water buffalo milk.
Water buffalo milk is processed into a large variety of dairy
Cream churns much faster at higher fat levels and gives higher overrun
than cow cream.
Butter from water buffalo cream displays more stability than that from
Ghee from water buffalo milk has a different texture with a bigger
grain size than ghee from cow milk.
Heat-concentrated milk products in the
Indian subcontinent include
paneer, khoa, rabri, kheer and basundi.
Fermented milk products include dahi, yogurt, and chakka.
Whey is used for making ricotta and mascarpone in Italy, and alkarish
Syria and Egypt.
Soft cheeses made include mozzarella in Italy, karish, mish, and
domiati in Egypt, madhfor in Iraq, alghab in Syria, kesong puti in the
Philippines, and vladeasa in Romania.
The semihard cheese beyaz peynir is made in Turkey.
Hard cheeses include braila in Romania, rahss in Egypt, white
brine in Bulgaria, and akkawi in Syria.
Watered-down buffalo milk is used as a cheaper alternative to regular
Top ten buffalo milk producers — 11 June 2008
Unofficial, Semi-official, mirror data
85 396 902
Meat and skin products
Main article: Buffalo meat
Water 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. 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 preserve it, an important
factor in hot climates where refrigeration is not always
Their hides provide tough and useful leather, often used for
Bone and horn products
A bihu dancer is blowing a hornpipe.
The bones and horns are often made into jewellery, especially
earrings. Horns are used for the embouchure of musical instruments,
such as ney and kaval.
Wildlife conservation scientists have started to recommend and use
introduced populations of feral domestic water buffalo in far-away
lands to manage uncontrolled vegetation growth in and around natural
wetlands. Introduced water buffalo at home in such environs provide
cheap service by regularly grazing the uncontrolled vegetation and
opening up clogged water bodies for waterfowl, wetland birds, and
other wildlife. Grazing water buffalo are sometimes used in
Great Britain for conservation grazing, such as in Chippenham Fen
National Nature Reserve. The buffalo can better adapt to wet
conditions and poor-quality vegetation than cattle.
Currently, research is being conducted at the Lyle Center for
Regenerative Studies to determine the levels of nutrients removed and
returned to wetlands when water buffalo are used for wetland
vegetation management.
However, in uncontrolled circumstances, water buffalo can cause
environmental damage, such as trampling vegetation, disturbing bird
and reptile nesting sites, and spreading exotic weeds.
The super carabaos at the milking and breeding station
In 2007, the development of Southeast Asia's first cloned buffalo was
announced in the Philippines. The Department of Agriculture's
Philippine Carabao Center
Philippine Carabao Center implemented cloning through somatic cell
nuclear transfer as a tool for genetic improvement in water buffalo to
produce "super buffalo calves" by multiplying existing germplasms but
without modifying or altering genetic material.
In January 2008, the
Philippine Carabao Center
Philippine Carabao Center in Nueva Ecija, per
Filipino scientists, initiated a study to breed a super water buffalo
that could produce 4 to 18 litres of milk per day using gene-based
technology. Also, the first in vitro river buffalo was born there in
2004 from an in vitro-produced, vitrified embryo, named "Glory" after
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Joseph Estrada's most successful
project as an opposition senator, the PCC was created through Republic
Act 3707, the
Carabao Act of 1992.
Indian scientists from the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal
developed a cloned buffalo in 2010. The buffalo calf was named
Samrupa. The calf did not survive more than a week, due to genetic
defects. A few months later, a second cloned calf was successfully
born, named Garima. The Central Institute for Research on
Buffaloes, India's premier research institute on buffalo, also became
the second institute in the world to successfully clone the buffalo in
Ceramic water buffalo from 2300 BC found in Lopburi, Thailand
Hindu god Yama (god of death) on a buffalo
Water Buffalo (Suigyū) by Katsushika Hokusai, circa 1875
Horns of water buffalo sacrificed in West Sumba, Indonesia, circa 1936
Some ethnic groups, such as Batak and
Indonesia and the
Derung in China, sacrifice water buffalo or kerbau (called horbo in
Batak or tedong in Toraja) at several festivals.
In Chinese tradition the domestic buffalo is associated with
contemplative life. Legend has it that the Chinese philosophical
China through the Han Gu Pass riding a water buffalo.
Hindu lore, the god Dharmaraja, of
Dharma and death,
Yama, rides on a male water buffalo. The
Hindu goddesses Varahi and
Vihot Mata also ride on buffalo as their vahana.
A buffalo head was a symbol of death in Tibet.
According to another folk lore, Mahishasura, a half-buffalo and
half-human demon, was killed by goddess Durga.
The Yoruban Orisha Oya (goddess of change) takes the form of a water
The carabao breed is considered a national symbol of the Philippines.
In Vietnam, water buffalo are often the most valuable possession of
poor farmers: 'Con trâu là đầu cơ nghiệp'. They are treated as
a member of the family: 'Chồng cày, vợ cấy, con trâu đi
bừa', meaning 'the husband ploughs, the wife sows, water buffalo
draws the rake'. Children talk to their water buffalo: 'Bao giờ cây
lúa còn bông. Thì còn ngọn cỏ ngoài đồng trâu ăn'. Hà
Nội used to be named Kim Ngưu - Golden Water Buffalo.
Many ethnic groups use the horn of water buffalo as a game trophy,
musical instruments and ornaments.
In the Thai and Sinhalese animal and planetary zodiac, the buffalo is
the third animal zodiac of the Thai and the fourth animal zodiac of
Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Similarly, the water buffalo is
the second animal zodiac in the Vietnamese zodiac.
An unstaged water buffalo fight
Pasungay Festival is held annually in the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo
in the Philippines.
Moh juj Water Buffalo fighting is held every year in Bhogali
Assam. Ahotguri in
Nagaon is famous for it.
Do Son Water Buffalo Fighting Festival of
Vietnam is held each year on
the ninth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar at Do Son
Haiphong City in Vietnam. It is one of the most popular
Vietnam festivals and events in
Haiphong City. The preparations for
this buffalo fighting festival begin from the two to three months
earlier. The competing buffalo are selected and methodically trained
months in advance. It is a traditional festival of
Vietnam attached to
a Water God worshipping ceremony and the Hien Sinh custom to show
martial spirit of the local people of Do Son, Haiphong.
"Hai Luu" Water Buffalo Fighting Festival of
Vietnam has existed since
the 2nd century B.C. General Lu Gia at that time, had the buffalo
slaughtered to give a feast to the local people and the warriors, and
organized buffalo fighting for amusement. Eventually, all the fighting
buffalo will be slaughtered as tributes to the deities.
"Ko Samui" Water Buffalo Fighting Festival of
Thailand is a very
popular event held on special occasions such as New Year's Day in
January, and Songkran in mid-April, this festival features
head-wrestling bouts in which two male Asian water buffalo are pitted
against one another. Unlike in Spanish Bullfighting, wherein bulls get
killed while fighting sword-wielding men, Buffalo Fighting Festival
held at Ko Samui,
Thailand is fairly harmless contest. The fighting
season varies according to ancient customs & ceremonies. The first
Buffalo to turn and run away is considered the loser, the winning
buffalo becomes worth several million baht.
"Ma'Pasilaga Tedong" Water Buffalo Fighting Festival, in Tana Toraja
Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, is a popular event where the
Rambu Solo or a Burial Festival took place in Tana Toraja.
Water buffalo racing at
Buffalo race at Vandar village, Udupi district, India.
Carabao Carroza Festival is being held annually every May in the town
of Pavia, Iloilo, Philippines.
Kambala races of Karnataka, India, take place between December and
March. The races are conducted by having the water buffalo (he
buffalo) run in long parallel slushy ditches, where they are driven by
men standing on wooden planks drawn by the buffalo. The objectives of
the race are to finish first and to raise the water to the greatest
height and also a rural sport.
Kambala races are arranged with
competition, as well as without competition and as a part of thanks
giving (to god) in about 50 villages of coastal Karnataka.
Chonburi Province of Thailand, and in Pakistan, there are
annual water buffalo races.
Water buffalo racing festival, Thailand In downtown
Chonburi, 70 km (43 mi) south of Bangkok, at the annual
water buffalo festival held in mid-October. About 300 buffalo race in
groups of five or six, spurred on by bareback jockeys wielding wooden
sticks, as hundreds of spectators cheer. The water buffalo has always
played an important role in agriculture in Thailand. For farmers of
Chon Buri Province, near Bangkok, it is an important annual festival,
beginning in mid-October. It is also a celebration among rice farmers
before the rice harvest. At dawn, farmers walk their buffalo through
surrounding rice fields, splashing them with water to keep them cool
before leading them to the race field. This amazing festival started
over a hundred years ago when two men arguing about whose buffalo was
the fastest ended up having a race between them. That’s how it
became a tradition and gradually a social event for farmers who
gathered from around the country in Chonburi to trade their goods. The
festival also helps a great deal in preserving the number of buffalo,
which have been dwindling at quite an alarming rate in other regions.
Modern machinery is rapidly replacing buffalo in Thai agriculture.
With most of the farm work mechanized, the buffalo-racing tradition
has continued. Racing buffalo are now raised just to race; they do not
work at all. The few farm buffalo which still do work are much bigger
than the racers because of the strenuous work they perform. Farm
buffalo are in the "Buffalo Beauty Pageant", a Miss Farmer beauty
contest and a comic buffalo costume contest etc.. This festival
perfectly exemplifies a favored Thai attitude to life — "sanuk,"
Water buffalo racing festival in Sarawak, Malaysia, is the
largest or grandest of the many rituals, ceremonies and festivals of
the traditional Bisaya community of Limbang, Sarawak. Highlights are
Babulang competition and the
Water buffalo races which can
only be found in this town in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Vihear Suor village
Water buffalo racing festival, Cambodia, each
year, people visit Buddhist temples across the country to honor their
deceased loved ones during a 15-day period commonly known as the
Festival of the Dead
Festival of the Dead but in Vihear Suor village, about 22 miles
(35 km) northeast of Cambodia, citizens each year wrap up the
festival with a water buffalo race to entertain visitors and honour a
pledge made hundreds of years ago. There was a time when many village
cattle which provide rural Cambodians with muscle power to plough
their fields and transport agricultural products died from an unknown
disease. The villagers prayed to a spirit to help save their animals
from the disease and promised to show their gratitude by holding a
buffalo race each year on the last day of "P'chum Ben" festival as it
is known in Cambodian. The race draws hundreds of spectators who come
to see riders and their animals charge down the racing field, the
racers bouncing up and down on the backs of their buffalo, whose horns
were draped with colorful cloth.
Buffalo racing in Kerala is similar to
Carabao Festival is held annually every 14 and 15 May in
the Philippine town of
Pulilan in honor of St. Isidore the Laborer,
the patron saint of farmers. As thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest
every year, farmers parade their carabaos in the main town street,
adorning them with garlands and other decorations. One of the
highlights of the festival is the kneeling of the carabaos in front of
the parish church.
African buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
List of water buffalo breeds
Cattle in religion
Zebu, the common breed of domestic cattle from India
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study on the rumen microbial population of cattle and swamp buffalo
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^ Kumar, S., Nagarajan, M., Sandhu, J. S., Kumar, N., Behl, V. and
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^ Tanaka, K., Solis, C. D., Masangkay, J. S., Maeda, K., Kawamoto, I.
Y. and Namikawa, T. (1996).
Phylogenetic relationship among all living
species of the genus
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Europe and Macedonia. Macedonian Journal of
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^ Agricultural Census Commission (2012).
Pakistan Agricultural Census
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^ Abid, Haider (February 2007). "Water Buffalo in the Iraqi Marshes".
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Bos bubalis". Wild
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Feral Animals in the Northern Territory".
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Bubalus bubalis). Fact Sheet. Department of
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^ ABC website Buffalo exports still suffering June 10, 2013
^ Sheikh, P. A., Merry, F. D., McGrath, D. G. (2006). "Water buffalo
and cattle ranching in the Lower Amazon Basin: Comparisons and
conflicts". Agricultural Systems 87: 313–330. Abstract
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Prospects for an Underutilized Animal : Report. National Academy
Press, Washington, D.C.
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and Scaloni, A. (2008). A proteomic characterization of water buffalo
milk fractions describing PTM of major species and the identification
of minor components involved in nutrient delivery and defense against
pathogens. Proteomics 8(17): 3657–3666.
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chemical composition of swamp and water buffalo milk: a comparative
study. Italian Journal of
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^ Han, X., Lee, F. L., Zhang, L. and M. R. Guo (2012). Chemical
composition of water buffalo milk and its low-fat symbiotic yogurt
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Social Department: The Statistical Division
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discussion from the Ramsar Forum over late March 1998
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the Bali, Or Planetary Incantations, of Ceylon. London: R. Ackermann.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Water buffalo.
Wikispecies has information related to Water buffalo
Wikisource has the text of an 1879
American Cyclopædia article about
Feral buffalo in Australia
Animal Info: Wild Asian (Water) Buffalo
Creature features: Buffaloes
Breeds of Livestock: Murrah
National Agricultural Innovation Project: Identification of
Quantitative Trait Loci for
Protein Percent in
Medium of exchange
Salt (Roman world)
Cocoa bean (PreHispanic)
Rai stones (Micronesia)
Manilla (W. Africa)
Water buffalo (SE Asia)
List of historical currencies
Extant Artiodactyla species
Pronghorn (A. americana)
Okapi (O. johnstoni)
Northern giraffe (G. camelopardalis)
Southern giraffe (G. giraffa)
Reticulated giraffe (G. reticulata)
Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi)
Anhui musk deer
Anhui musk deer (M. anhuiensis)
Dwarf musk deer
Dwarf musk deer (M. berezovskii)
Alpine musk deer
Alpine musk deer (M. chrysogaster)
Kashmir musk deer
Kashmir musk deer (M. cupreus)
Black musk deer
Black musk deer (M. fuscus)
Himalayan musk deer (M. leucogaster)
Siberian musk deer
Siberian musk deer (M. moschiferus)
Water chevrotain (H. aquaticus)
Indian spotted chevrotain
Indian spotted chevrotain (M. indica)
Yellow-striped chevrotain (M. kathygre)
Sri Lankan spotted chevrotain
Sri Lankan spotted chevrotain (M. meminna)
Java mouse-deer (T. javanicus)
Lesser mouse-deer (T. kanchil)
Greater mouse-deer (T. napu)
Philippine mouse-deer (T. nigricans)
Vietnam mouse-deer (T. versicolor)
Williamson's mouse-deer (T. williamsoni)
Large family listed below
Large family listed below
Indian muntjac (M. muntjak)
Reeves's muntjac (M. reevesi)
Hairy-fronted muntjac (M. crinifrons)
Fea's muntjac (M. feae)
Bornean yellow muntjac
Bornean yellow muntjac (M. atherodes)
Roosevelt's muntjac (M. rooseveltorum)
Gongshan muntjac (M. gongshanensis)
Giant muntjac (M. vuquangensis)
Truong Son muntjac
Truong Son muntjac (M. truongsonensis)
Leaf muntjac (M. putaoensis)
Sumatran muntjac (M. montanus)
Pu Hoat muntjac
Pu Hoat muntjac (M. puhoatensis)
Tufted deer (E. cephalophus)
Fallow deer (D. dama)
Persian fallow deer
Persian fallow deer (D. mesopotamica)
Chital (A. axis)
Barasingha (R. duvaucelii)
Eld's deer (P. eldii)
Père David's deer
Père David's deer (E. davidianus)
Hog deer (H. porcinus)
Calamian deer (H. calamianensis)
Bawean deer (H. kuhlii)
Sambar deer (R. unicolor)
Rusa deer (R. timorensis)
Philippine sambar (R. mariannus)
Philippine spotted deer (R. alfredi)
Red deer (C. elaphus)
Elk (C. canadensis)
Thorold's deer (C. albirostris)
Sika deer (C. nippon)
Moose (A. alces)
Water deer (H. inermis)
Roe deer (C. capreolus)
Siberian roe deer
Siberian roe deer (C. pygargus)
Reindeer (R. tarandus)
Taruca (H. antisensis)
South Andean deer
South Andean deer (H. bisulcus)
Red brocket (M. americana)
Small red brocket
Small red brocket (M. bororo)
Merida brocket (M. bricenii)
Dwarf brocket (M. chunyi)
Gray brocket (M. gouazoubira)
Pygmy brocket (M. nana)
Amazonian brown brocket
Amazonian brown brocket (M. nemorivaga)
Yucatan brown brocket
Yucatan brown brocket (M. pandora)
Little red brocket
Little red brocket (M. rufina)
Central American red brocket
Central American red brocket (M. temama)
Pampas deer (O. bezoarticus)
Marsh deer (B. dichotomus)
Northern pudú (P. mephistophiles)
Southern pudú (P. pudu)
White-tailed deer (O. virginianus)
Mule deer (O. hemionus)
Abbott's duiker (C. spadix)
Aders's duiker (C. adersi)
Bay duiker (C. dorsalis)
Black duiker (C. niger)
Black-fronted duiker (C. nigrifrons)
Brooke's duiker (C. brookei)
Harvey's duiker (C. harveyi)
Jentink's duiker (C. jentinki)
Ogilby's duiker (C. ogilbyi)
Peters's duiker (C. callipygus)
Red-flanked duiker (C. rufilatus)
Red forest duiker
Red forest duiker (C. natalensis)
Ruwenzori duiker (C. rubidis)
Weyns's duiker (C. weynsi)
White-bellied duiker (C. leucogaster)
White-legged duiker (C. crusalbum)
Yellow-backed duiker (C. Sylvicultor)
Zebra duiker (C. zebra)
Blue duiker (P. monticola)
Maxwell's duiker (P. maxwellii)
Walter's duiker (P. walteri)
Common duiker (S. grimmia)
Roan antelope (H. equinus)
Sable antelope (H. niger)
East African oryx
East African oryx (O. beisa)
Scimitar oryx (O. dammah)
Gemsbok (O. gazella)
Arabian oryx (O. leucoryx)
Addax (A. nasomaculatus)
Upemba lechwe (K. anselli)
Waterbuck (K. ellipsiprymnus)
Kob (K. kob)
Lechwe (K. leche)
Nile lechwe (K. megaceros)
Puku (K. vardonii)
Southern reedbuck (R. arundinum)
Mountain reedbuck (R. fulvorufula)
Bohor reedbuck (R. redunca)
Impala (A. melampus)
Grey rhebok (P. capreolus)
Hirola (B. hunteri)
Topi (D. korrigum)
Common tsessebe (D. lunatus)
Bontebok (D. pygargus)
Bangweulu tsessebe (D. superstes)
Hartebeest (A. buselaphus)
Red hartebeest (A. caama)
Lichtenstein's hartebeest (A. lichtensteinii)
Black wildebeest (C. gnou)
Blue wildebeest (C. taurinus)
Tibetan antelope (P. hodgsonii)
Large subfamily listed below
Large subfamily listed below
Large subfamily listed below
Bovidae (subfamily Caprinae)
Barbary sheep (A. lervia)
Takin (B. taxicolor)
Wild goat (C. aegagrus)
Domestic goat (C. aegagrus hircus)
West Caucasian tur
West Caucasian tur (C. caucasia)
East Caucasian tur
East Caucasian tur (C. cylindricornis)
Markhor (C. falconeri)
Alpine ibex (C. ibex)
Nubian ibex (C. nubiana)
Spanish ibex (C. pyrenaica)
Siberian ibex (C. sibirica)
Walia ibex (C. walie)
Japanese serow (C. crispus)
Taiwan serow (C. swinhoei)
Sumatran serow (C. sumatraensis)
Mainland serow (C. milneedwardsii)
Red serow (C. rubidusi)
Himalayan serow (C. thar)
Nilgiri tahr (H. hylocrius)
Arabian tahr (H. jayakari)
Himalayan tahr (H. jemlahicus)
Red goral (N. baileyi)
Long-tailed goral (N. caudatus)
Himalayan goral (N. goral)
Chinese goral (N. griseus)
Mountain goat (O. americanus)
Muskox (O. moschatus)
Argali (O. ammon)
Domestic sheep (O. aries)
Bighorn sheep (O. canadensis)
Dall sheep (O. dalli)
Mouflon (O. musimon)
Snow sheep (O. nivicola)
Urial (O. orientalis)
Bharal (P. nayaur)
Dwarf blue sheep
Dwarf blue sheep (P. schaeferi)
Pyrenean chamois (R. pyrenaica)
Chamois (R. rupicapra)
Bovidae (subfamily Bovinae)
Four-horned antelope (T. quadricornis)
Nilgai (B. tragocamelus)
Water buffalo (B. bubalis)
Wild Water Buffalo (B. arnee)
Lowland anoa (B. depressicornis)
Mountain anoa (B. quarlesi)
Tamaraw (B. mindorensis)
Banteng (B. javanicus)
Gaur (B. gaurus)
Gayal (B. frontalis)
Domestic yak (B. grunniens)
Wild yak (B. mutus)
Cattle (B. taurus)
Kouprey (B. sauveli)
Kting voar (P. spiralis)
Saola (P. nghetinhensis)
African buffalo (S. caffer)
American bison (B. bison)
European bison (B. bonasus)
Sitatunga (T. spekeii)
Nyala (T. angasii)
Kéwel (T. scriptus)
Cape bushbuck (T. sylvaticus)
Mountain nyala (T. buxtoni)
Lesser kudu (T. imberbis)
Greater kudu (T. strepsiceros)
Bongo (T. eurycerus)
Common eland (T. oryx)
Giant eland (T. derbianus)
Bovidae (subfamily Antilopinae)
Dibatag (A. clarkei)
Springbok (A. marsupialis)
Blackbuck (A. cervicapra)
Mongalla gazelle (E. albonotata)
Red-fronted gazelle (E. rufifrons)
Thomson's gazelle (E. thomsonii)
Heuglin's gazelle (E. tilonura)
Mountain gazelle (G. gazella)
Neumann's gazelle (G. erlangeri)
Speke's gazelle (G. spekei)
Dorcas gazelle (G. dorcas)
Chinkara (G. bennettii)
Cuvier's gazelle (G. cuvieri)
Rhim gazelle (G. leptoceros)
Goitered gazelle (G. subgutturosa)
Gerenuk (L. walleri)
Dama gazelle (N. dama)
Grant's gazelle (N. granti)
Soemmerring's gazelle (N. soemmerringii)
Mongolian gazelle (P. gutturosa)
Goa (P. picticaudata)
Przewalski's gazelle (P. przewalskii)
Tibetan antelope (P. hodgsonii)
Saiga antelope (S. tatarica)
Beira (D. megalotis)
Günther's dik-dik (M. guentheri)
Kirk's dik-dik (M. kirkii)
Silver dik-dik (M. piacentinii)
Salt's dik-dik (M. saltiana)
Bates's pygmy antelope
Bates's pygmy antelope (N. batesi)
Suni (N. moschatus)
Royal antelope (N. pygmaeus)
Klipspringer (O. oreotragus)
Oribi (O. ourebi)
Steenbok (R. campestris)
Cape grysbok (R. melanotis)
Sharpe's grysbok (R. sharpei)
Buru babirusa (B. babyrussa)
Sulawesi babirusa (B. celebensis)
Togian babirusa (B. togeanensis)
Giant forest hog
Giant forest hog (H. meinertzhageni)
Desert warthog (P. aethiopicus)
Common warthog (P. africanus)
Pygmy hog (P. salvania)
Bushpig (P. larvatus)
Red river hog
Red river hog (P. porcus)
Palawan bearded pig
Palawan bearded pig (S. ahoenobarbus)
Bornean bearded pig
Bornean bearded pig (S. barbatus)
Indo-chinese warty pig (S. bucculentus)
Visayan warty pig
Visayan warty pig (S. cebifrons)
Celebes warty pig
Celebes warty pig (S. celebensis)
Flores warty pig (S. heureni)
Oliver's warty pig
Oliver's warty pig (S. oliveri)
Philippine warty pig
Philippine warty pig (S. philippensis)
Wild boar (S. scrofa)
Timor warty pig (S. timoriensis)
Javan warty pig
Javan warty pig (S. verrucosus)
White-lipped peccary (T. pecari)
Chacoan peccary (C. wagneri)
Collared peccary (P. tajacu)
Giant peccary (P. maximus)
Llama (L. glama)
Guanaco (L. guanicoe)
Vicuña (V. vicugna)
Alpaca (V. pacos)
Dromedary (C. dromedarius)
Bactrian camel (C. bactrianus)
Bactrian camel (C. ferus)
Whippomorpha (unranked clade)
Hippopotamus (H. amphibius)
Pygmy hippopotamus (C. liberiensis)