Ministry of Environment researchers spotted a large number of adult gaurs and their offspring through motion-sensor cameras installed in various wildlife sanctuaries in Cambodia, bringing fresh hopes for environmentalists and biologists.

The gaur, known by its scientific name Bos gaurus, is native to South and Southeast Asia and listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Its population has dropped gradually worldwide.

The ministry said there was no exact information on the number of gaurs present in Cambodia. But the images captured by the cameras showed a herd of them including adults and young babies.

The ministry said the number of gaur worldwide had dropped more than 80 per cent in the last decade -- or 90 per cent since the mid-20th century.

It is estimated that there are between 15,000 and 35,000 gaurs worldwide, among them adult gaur account for between 6,000 and 21,000. They are found in Bhutan, India, Cambodia, Loas, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. It has gone into extinction in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

According to the latest study, the gaur population in Cambodia dropped by more than 50 per cent from 1960-1990. The number has continued to drop gradually until now, the ministry said.

“Although the study shows that the number of gaur in Cambodia decreases as it does elsewhere in the world, the population study on gaur in various natural protected areas confirms the presence of many baby gaurs which brings fresh hopes for their reproduction and the expected increase of gaur families,” the ministry said.

It said wildlife sanctuaries in Mondulkiri province were known to have the most gaurs in the late 1990s, estimated to be between 500 and 1,000, but the number has since dropped.

Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary is believed to have more than 100 gaur in 2020, a drop from about 500 in 2010.