In addition to being the smallest wild cattle, lowland anoas are also believed to be the most primitive cattle in general. There are just two species of anoa: the lowland and the mountain. These anoas are also closely related to Asian water buffalos as well as the extremely rare tamarau, which is found on Mindoro Island in the Philippines.
Minerals Provide Nutrition and Mates
Lowland anoas are shy and primarily nocturnal. They eat in the early morning and then take cover during the day in the forest’s thick undergrowth to keep cool while they chew their cud. Those who report seeing anoas say that they travel alone or in pairs. It therefore seems that they live in low population densities. While some anoas have been observed drinking seawater in order to fulfill their mineral needs, most frequent mineral springs. Visiting springs regularly provides anoas with more than just nutrition; they are a social gathering place and an opportunity to encounter the opposite sex. Therefore, mineral springs allow bulls to find estrous females with which they can mate.
Despite their legal protection in Indonesia since 1931, Lowland anoas are an endangered species. Their shrinking numbers are a result of being hunted for their meat and the ongoing destruction of their habitat.Sadly, Sulawesi’s many reserves are ineffective in protecting the lowland anoa.
Anoas are only found on the Indonesian island, Sulawesi. There, the lowland anoa may be found in lowland forests and swampy areas anywhere from sea level to five thousand feet above. They also seem to have a very high need for their habitats to contain untouched forest, more so than any other Asian cattle.
Lowland anoas are herbivores. They eat grasses, ferns, young banana trees, bark, and fallen fruit. They’ve also been seen eating moss which may be for hydration as well as nutrition.
Lowland anoas have stocky bodies. They weigh as much as six hundred and sixty pounds, yet measure only thirty-one to thirty-nine inches tall and have a body length of just sixty-six to seventy-three inches. Adults have straight, black hair that is thinly scattered over most of their body, except for a few interesting white markings. Their forelegs are white or pale yellow from the knees down and their hind legs have some obvious white spotting above the hooves. Some also have a white crescent shaped marking over their throat. Another feature of the lowland anoa is their short, triangular, horns which have ridged edges. The males’ horns measure ten to fourteen inches tall and are longer than the females’ horns which are seven to ten inches tall. The lowland anoa’s tail is relatively long as compared to the tail of their relative, the mountain anoa.