(Bos gaurus)




Facts about this animal

The Gaur is one of the largest of the bovines. It has a huge head, a massive body and sturdy limbs. On their shoulders gaur have a striking muscular ridge that slopes down to the middle of the back, where it ends in an abrupt dip. The head-body length is 260-330 cm, the height at the shoulder is 160-210 and it weights 600-1000 kg.


The coat is short and glossy; adults, especially bulls are almost hairless except on the head, chest, underparts and the lower parts of the legs. The colour is deep brown, old bulls tending to jet black, cows to reddish; with white stockings from the wrists and heels down. The horns curve upward and backward. They are creamy yellow with black tips, with a distinct hairy ridge between the horns. Females are about 10 cm shorte in height, 150 kg lighter and the horns are less strong.

Did you know?
that the gaur has been domesticated in northeastern India and in Burma for work and meat? Dubbed the gayal, the domestic form is smaller than its wild counterpart and has, among other distinctive features, more conical and straighter horns.


Name (Scientific) Bos gaurus
Name (English) Gaur
Name (French) Gaur
Name (German) Gaur
Name (Spanish) Gaur
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Christy Sims Parr



Range Southern Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Southern China, Southern and North-eastern India, Lao PDR, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, lowlands of Nepal (mostly in the Royal Chitwan National Park/Parsa Wildlife Reserve), Thailand, Viet Nam
Habitat Forested hilly areas in evergreen, deciduous and savanna forests
Wild population Approx.: 13.000-30.000 (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 155 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For road transport, in general, a trailer is used. Because of the large size of wild cattle, the use of a crate is generally not recommended except for transport of juvenile or sub-adult animals or for air transport. When transporting wild cattle in a trailer, animals should be singly-stalled and stalls should be partitioned in such a way that the animal has enough room to lie down and stand up, but not turn around. Too much space allows the animal to jump up, potentially injuring itself.

For air transport, Container Note 73 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations, should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The gaur is a vulnerable species in the wild. It has a rather small population and its habitat is dwindling. Zoos therefore attemmpt to maintain an ex situ insurance population and have to this end established an international studbook and coordinated breeding programmes at the regional level.

Being the largest bovid species, the gaur is also of educational interest.