Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Common Name Tembadau
Range Southeast Asia
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Family Bovidae
Genus Bos
Species B. javanicus
Conservation Status

The Banteng (Bos javanicus), also known as tembadau, is a species of wild cattle found in Southeast Asia.

Banteng have been domesticated in several places in Southeast Asia, and there are around 1.5 million domestic banteng, which are called Bali cattle. These animals are used as working animals and for their meat. Banteng have also been introduced to Northern Australia, where they have established stable feral populations.

Distribution and Subspecies[]

The following subspecies are recognised:

  • Java Banteng: Found on Java and Bali, the males are black and females are buff.
  • Borneo Banteng: From Borneo, they are smaller than Java banteng and the horns are steeper; bulls are chocolate-brown.
  • Burma Banteng: In Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, these males and females are usually buff, but in Cambodia, 20% of the bulls are blackish, and on the Malayan Peninsula in Thailand, most of the bulls are black. This subspecies is recognised by the IUCN but not by Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition.


The banteng is similar in size to domestic cattle, measuring 1.55 to 1.65 m (5 ft 1 in to 5 ft 5 in) tall at the shoulder and 2.45–3.5 m (8 ft 0.5 in–11 ft 6 in) in total length, including a 60 cm (2.0 ft) tail. Body weight can range from 400 to 900 kg (880 to 2,000 lb). It exhibits sexual dimorphism, allowing the sexes to be readily distinguished by colour and size. In mature males, the short-haired coat is blue-black or dark chestnut in colour, while in females and young it is chestnut with a dark dorsal stripe. Both males and females have white stockings on their lower legs, a white rump, a white muzzle, and white spots above the eyes. The build is similar to that of domestic cattle, but with a comparatively slender neck and small head, and a ridge on the back above the shoulders. The horns of females are short and tightly curved, pointing inward at the tips, while those of males arc upwards, growing 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) long, and being connected by a horn-like bald patch on the forehead.


Banteng live in sparse forest where they feed on grasses, bamboo, fruit, leaves and young branches. The banteng is generally active both night and day, but in places where humans are common they adopt a nocturnal schedule. Banteng tend to gather in herds of two to thirty members.

Conservation Status[]

The wild Banteng is considered as Endangered by the IUCN. The populations on the Asian mainland have decreased by about 80% in the last decades. The total number of wild bantengs is estimated to about 5,000-8,000 animals. No population has more than 500 animals, only a few have more than 50. Reasons for the population decline are reduction of habitat, hunting, hybridisation with domestic cattle and infections with cattle diseases. The most important stronghold for the species is Java with the biggest populations in Ujung Kulon National Park and Baluran National Park. The biggest population on the mainland is found in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand. Another larger population lives in Kaeng Krachan. Borneo has still a few hundred bantengs, more than a hundred of which occur in Kulamba Wildlife Reserve in Sabah.


The banteng is the second endangered species to be successfully cloned, and the first to survive for more than a week (the first was a gaur that died two days after being born). Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, MA, U.S. extracted DNA from banteng cells kept in the San Diego Zoo's "Frozen Zoo" facility, and transferred it into eggs from domestic cattle, a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Thirty embryos were created and sent to Trans Ova Genetics, which implanted the fertilized eggs in domestic cattle. Two were carried to term and delivered by Caesarian section. The first was born on April 1, 2003, and the second two days later. The second was euthanized, but the first survived and, as of September 2006, remains in good health at the San Diego Zoo.