Water buffalo cow in Thailand
The Water Buffalo or domestic Asian wa-
ter buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
is a large
bovine animal, frequently used as livestock in
Asia, and also widely in South America,
southern Europe, north Africa and elsewhere.
In 2000, the United Nations Food and Agri-
culture Organization estimated that there
were approximately 158 million water buffalo
in the world and that 97% of them (approxim-
ately 153 million animals) were in Asia.
There are established feral populations in
northern Australia but the dwindling true
wild populations are thought to survive in In-
dia, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand. All the do-
mestic varieties and breeds descend from
one common ancestor, the wild Asian water
buffalo, which is now an endangered species.
Buffalo are used as draft, meat and dairy
animals. Their dung is used as a fertilizer and
as a fuel when dried. In Chonburi, Thailand,
and in South Malabar Region in Kerala, In-
dia, there are annual water buffalo races. A
few have also found use as pack animals car-
rying loads even for special forces.
American bison are known as buffalo in
parts of North America, but not normally in
other usages; bison are more closely related
to cattle, gaur, banteng, and yaks than to Asi-
an buffalo. The water buffalo genus includes
water buffalo, tamaraw and anoas—all Asian
species. The ancestry of the African buffalo is
unclear, but it is not believed to be closely re-
lated to the water buffalo.
It is known as "Water Buffalo" because it is
adapted to and enjoys being in water.
Endangered wild Asian
True wild Asian water buffalo (or wild Asiatic
water buffalo) are thought to survive in
Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand.
The IUCN Red List of threatened species
classifies wild Asian water buffalo (B