Monday, February 20, 2006

Strong-shouldered and shiny horned

Strong-shouldered and shiny horned
Originally uploaded by Pandiyan.

Indian Bison or Gaur
Bos gaurus gaurus

This is a mighty beast. Six feet at the shoulder weighing 1000 kilo grams, it needs to fear only three enemies - a mightier bull or a marauding tiger or humans. These are the wild cousins of domesticated cattle but are rather large and avoid humans.

Listed as vulnerable, they face depleting grazing areas and infections from domestic cattle. There were instances when big herds were wiped out from attack of diseases such as foot-and-mouth. Their cousins in the fareast and China are even faring worse and are put on critically endangered list.

This is not the best view of this wonderful animal. He gave me very little time before he disappeared into the woods. I was watching his mate when this big fellow suddenly came into view and unnerved me. Of course, they were captive and I was behind the concrete barricade but still it was an awesome sight seeing him so close.

I had seen one in the wild few years ago but even then he did not give me a chance to set the camera. I was using an SLR film camera and driving the car and I had no chance. Such massive animals and they are so fast and vanish in a jiffy.

Just like a rude cowboy; eats shoots and leaves

Just like a rude cowboy; eats shoots and leaves
Originally uploaded by Pandiyan.

Lion tailed Macaque
Macaca silenus

Considered most endangered of all monkeys, not many survive in the wild. Found only in the southern part of Indian subcontinent. This area is designated as a biodiversity hotspot and just as other biodiversity spots it is under heavy threat of human pressure.

These animals do not seem to adjust well to human settlements like their cousin and are listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red list. Though the efforts in the last twenty years have brought them back from the brink, the future is still uncertain. These species are doomed for exisitence only in captivity.

They are called lion-tailed because of the tuft in the tail like that of a lion. However, look at their mane. They can very well be called lion-headed macaque as well. The word macaque is said to come from an African word for monkeys. They are the smallest of all the species of macaques.

They say their voice in the forest can be mistaken for that of a human and the 'coyee' sound that they make resembles the hindi 'koi hai?' meaning 'anyone there'.

EDIT Thanks to all those who liked the title. Let me clarify that it is my creation. It is an old joke and the origin is unknown (to me.)