Bubalus depressicornis is found exclusively in the northern region of the Indonesian island of Celebes, which is also called Sulawesi. (Parker, 1990; Nowak, 1999; Anonymous, 2001; Massicot, 2001)
Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )
Other Geographic Terms: island endemic
Historically, anoa of one species or other were present throughout the majority of the island’s forests (Weber 1890, Sarasin and Sarasin 1901, Mohr 1921, Harper 1945, Groves 1969, Burton et al. 2005).
Juvenile lowland anoas are covered with thick, wooly, yellowish brown hair. Adults are characterized by thick, black skin, and are only sparsely covered with brown to blackish hair. They also have white or yellowish-white hair on their forelegs, and sometimes on their throat and nape. Lowland anoas have a stocky body with the hindquarters slightly higher than the shoulders and a long tail averaging 40 cm in length. Adults stand at an average shoulder height of 86cm. The horns of an adult are triangular in section, flattened and wrinkled. The horns begin at the forehead and point diagonally backwards. Males have horns averaging 30cm in length, and females have horns that average 25cm in length. Anoas are very efficient at crashing through forest undergrowth, with the horns being held close to the back in order to avoid being tangled. (Parker, 1990; Huffman, 1999; Nowak, 1999; Anonymous, 2001; Massicot, 2001)
Range mass: 90 to 225 kg.
Average length: 180 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
The lowland anoa prefers undisturbed lowland forested areas and swamps. Shaded areas are preferred to escape from daytime temperatures. (Parker, 1990; Nowak, 1999; Anonymous, 2001)
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Habitat and Ecology
The species is solitary and is a browser, feeding on vegetation (Whitten et al. 1987, Foead 1992). The typical life span in captivity is reported to be 20 to 30 years, with age at sexual maturity at 2 to 3 years old (in captivity), with typically one offspring per year (NRC, 1983; Jahja, 1987), though in wild conditions this may be less.
Lowland anoas are herbivorous. Wild anoas are known to feed on aquatic plants, ferns, grasses, saplings, fallen fruit, palm, and ginger. In addition, they have been recorded to drink sea water which is thought to fulfill their mineral needs in areas that do not have salt licks or mineral spring water. Captive anoas are fed a diet of hay and herbivore pellets. (Parker, 1990; Nowak, 1999; Anonymous, 2001; Massicot, 2001)
Plant Foods: leaves; fruit
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore )
The lowland anoa controls forest understory growth by feeding on understory grasses and plants. (Parker, 1990; Huffman, 1999; Nowak, 1999; Anonymous, 2001; Massicot, 2001)
Adult lowland anoas do not have any predators (except humans). However, infant anoas are preyed upon by pythons (Python reticulatus or Python molurus) and the endemic civet (Macrogalidia musschembroekii). (Anonymous, 2001)
- reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus)
- Sulawesi palm civets (Macrogalidia musschenbroekii)
- Indian pythons (Python molurus)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Lowland anoas have been documented to live as long as 31 years in captivity. However, the maximum lifespan in the wild is approximately 20 years. (Jones, 1993; Anonymous 2001)
Status: wild: 20 (high) years.
Status: captivity: 31 (high) years.
Status: wild: 30.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Lowland anoas are not known to have a breeding season. Both females and males become sexually mature at approximately 2 years of age. The female has a gestation period that lasts from 275 to 315 days. Females will usually go off alone during calving. Although a female can give birth to twins, typically only one offspring is born. Weaning occurs at a time period of 6 to 9 months after birth. Females typically reproduce annually. (Parker, 1990; Huffman, 1999; Nowak, 1999; Anonymous, 2001; Massicot, 2001)
Breeding season: year round
Range number of offspring: 1 (low) .
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 9.17 to 10.5 months.
Range weaning age: 6 to 9 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.
Key Reproductive Features: year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal )
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 730 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 730 days.
Generally, exclusively the female cares for the young.
Parental Investment: female parental care ; post-independence association with parents
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Bubalus depressicornis
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Bubalus depressicornis
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
The lowland anoa was widely distributed throughout northern Sulawesi in 1900. The several reasons for the drastic decline in the lowland anoa population include hunting and the expansion of settlement, which has resulted in logging activities, as well as clearing of forested areas and draining of marshland for agriculture. The current lowland anoa population is estimated to be approximately 5000 animals. The number of wild lowland anoas is still decreasing as illegal hunting continues and humans continue to populate its range. Ongoing research efforts by zoos, including the St. Louis Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, continue to support a captive breeding program for lowland anoas. As of 1995, 110 Bubalus depressicornis were in captivity. (O'Brien and Kinnaird, 1996; Huffman, 1999; Anonymous, 2001; Massicot, 2001; Pangau, 2001)
US Federal List: endangered
CITES: appendix i
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Endangered(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Endangered(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
- 1986Endangered(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
Date Listed: 06/02/1970
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10)
Where Listed: Entire
Population location: Entire
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Bubalus depressicornis , see its USFWS Species Profile
The Lowland Anoa populations in small reserves (e.g., Tanjung Amolengu Wildlife Reserve) and other forest fragments are threatened with local extinction. Even the populations in large protected areas and other large forest blocks are reported to be in decline as a result of heavy hunting pressure. O'Brien and Kinnaird (1996) report a 50 to 95% decline of this species in Tangkoko Nature Reserve in Northern Sulawesi in a 10-year period, with more recent surveys suggesting it is now locally extinct. The rate of population decline across their range is thought to be 20% over two generations (generation length of 7 to 9 years). The species’ ecology was studied recently in the Tanjung Peropa and Tanjung Amolengo Wildlife Reserves in southeastern Sulawesi.
According to Burton et al. (2005) this species requires the following conservation actions: (1) protection from hunting, (2) prevention of habitat loss at key sites, (3) complete genetic studies to better determine the taxonomy of this species, and (4) determination of the status of remaining populations. This species, as it is confined mainly to lowland areas, requires well established protected areas with protection from hunting a major priority. Law enforcement combined with education should be employed to reduce hunting pressure.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Wild lowland anoas can be very aggressive toward humans, especially young male anoas and female anoas with offspring. Several accounts of this species of anoa attacking humans with its sharp horns have been recorded. (Anonymous, 2001)
Anoas are hunted because of their desirable meat which is still sold in local markets. In addition, the skull and
the horns are made into trophies or souvenirs. The horns have traditional value for medicinal purposes. Despite the fact that anoas are protected, local people still pursue illegal hunting not only in unprotected forests but also in conservation areas. Local hunters generally use snares, spears or dogs to kill anoas. (Melisch, 1995; Pangau, 2001)
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material; source of medicine or drug
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