The kouprey (Bos sauveli) is a critically endangered species of wild cattle that is native to Cambodia. This majestic animal was declared as the Cambodia National Animal in 1995, but since then it has faced various threats that have led to its decline in numbers. In this article, we will discuss the physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, cultural significance, and conservation status of the kouprey.
Physical Description of Cambodia National Animal
Kouprey are large and heavy animals that can weigh up to 700 kg and stand up to 1.9 meters tall at the shoulder. They have a distinctive coloration, with a dark brown coat on their upper body and lighter legs and underbelly. Kouprey are also known for their long and curved horns that can grow up to 80 cm in length.
Habitat and Range
The kouprey once roamed the forests and grasslands of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, but now it is believed to be extinct in the latter two countries. The remaining population of kouprey is found in Cambodia’s northern and eastern regions, where they inhabit the forests and grasslands.
Behavior and Ecology
Kouprey are herbivores and primarily feed on grasses, leaves, and fruits. They are also known to dig for roots and tubers. These animals live in small groups, usually consisting of females and their young. Males are mostly solitary but may join groups during the breeding season. Kouprey are also known to migrate seasonally in search of food and water.
Cultural Significance of Cambodia National Animal
The kouprey has a significant cultural and historical significance in Cambodia. It is believed to be a sacred animal that brings good luck and prosperity. Kouprey also feature in many traditional Cambodian folktales and legends, and they were also depicted on Cambodia’s currency before it was replaced by the riel.
Conservation Status of Cambodia National Animal
The kouprey is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, with less than 250 individuals believed to be remaining in the wild. The main threats to the kouprey include habitat loss due to deforestation and illegal hunting for its meat and horns. The Cambodian government has launched various conservation initiatives to protect the kouprey, but more efforts are needed to ensure its survival.
The kouprey is a magnificent animal that holds significant cultural and historical importance in Cambodia. However, the species is facing numerous threats that have led to its decline in numbers. It is crucial to protect the kouprey and its habitat to ensure its survival for future generations to come.
“Kouprey – Bos sauveli”. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/2894/0
“Kouprey”. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/kouprey
“Cambodia’s Kouprey: The Rare and Endangered National Animal”. Culture Trip. https://theculturetrip.com/asia/cambodia/articles/cambodias-kouprey-the-rare-and-endangered-national-animal/