Water Buffalo

The water buffalo or domestic Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a large bovine animal, frequently used as livestock in the Indian Subcontinent, and also widely in South America, southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, and elsewhere.

In 2000, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated there were approximately 158 million water buffalo in the world, with 97% of them (approximately 153 million animals) in Asia. There are established feral populations in northern Australia, but the dwindling true wild populations are thought to survive in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand. All the domestic varieties and breeds descend from one common ancestor, the wild water buffalo, which is now an endangered species. The domestic water buffalo, although derived from the wild water buffalo, is the product of thousands of years of selective breeding in either the Indian Subcontinent or Southeast Asia.

Buffalo are used as draft, meat, and dairy animals. Their dung is used as a fertilizer, and as a fuel when dried. In the Chonburi of Thailand, Pakistan, and the southwestern region of Karnataka, India, there are annual water buffalo races known as kambala. A few have also found use as pack animals, carrying loads even for special forces.

The water buffalo genus includes water buffalo, tamaraw and anoas, all of which are Asian species. The ancestry of the African buffalo is unclear, but it is not believed to be closely related to the water buffalo.

Read more about Water Buffalo:  Wild Water Buffalo, Anatomy and Morphology, Taxonomy, Distribution, Importance To Humans, Adaptation and Behavior, Reproduction, Environmental Effects, In Culture

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