The Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre has announced the arrival on Monday of a male gaur calf to a female that was brought from the Kingdom’s northeastern region seven years ago as part of a pioneering breeding programme.
The centre’s director Nhek Ratanakpich told The Post yesterday that the calf was born on Monday afternoon and is now under the attentive care of the veterinarians there.
“Two years ago, the 10-year-old female gaur gave birth to a female calf and now it gave birth to another one,” he said, praising the success of the centre’s breeding programme.
Ratanakpich said there are now five gaurs in his rescue centre – two females and three males. One was brought from France, another was rescued from Battambang province and the last one was born earlier this week.
The government-run Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC) rehabilitates rescued animals in cooperation with Wildlife Alliance.
As of today, the number of gaurs in the Kingdom could not be estimated.
However, the presence of a small number of them have been recorded in the jungles of Cardamom Mountains and the highlands in southwest, northwest and northeast of Cambodia, WWF-Cambodia director Seng Teak said.
“Camera traps have been installed in some of the Kingdom’s parks, such as Virachey National Park. The photographs show the presence of gaurs in small numbers,” Teak said.
He noted that the gaurs are an endangered species as registered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
With the positive outcome of PTWRC’s breeding programme, he hailed it as a major protection and preservation effort to save wild animals from extinction.
“I believe when those rescued animals are fully grown, they will be released into nature, so let’s hope they will not be poached,” said Teak.
The IUCN factsheet says the gaur, also commonly known as Indian bison is the largest extant bovine. Its muscular body can weigh up to 1,000kg for females and 1,500kg for males.
An average adult female is 1.6 metre tall, while a male is 1.85 metre tall.
Its horn is flatter than and as curvy as that of a banteng. And its hump stretches almost half of its body.
In colour, the adult male gaur is dark brown, approaching black in very old animals. The upper part of the head, from above the eyes to the nape of the neck, is, however, ashy grey. The muzzle is pale coloured, and the lower part of the legs are pure white or tan.
A gaur lives in the jungles and grasslands in areas with a latitude above 2,000 metres. Normally, it seeks food in the mornings and evenings. It likes to walk in a herd.
Just like humans, a female gaur is pregnant for nine months.
Gaurs face extinction due to habitat loss and poaching.