Often mistaken for a bison, the Indian Gaur is part of the cow family. The bison is a species found in two places – Europe and the USA. The gaur is amongst the largest and most powerful wild cattle found across the world. Found in abundance across the country, they are very adaptive to the environments and surroundings.An average gaur stands over 180 cm tall and weighs a little under a ton (1000 kg). This gives you a picture of its massive structure. It’s normally found in herds of at least eight to ten and is extremely aggressive – especially when it comes to protecting its young.
The massive size normally makes one believe that no predator gets close to these mammoth bovines, yet these gaurs are easy meat for the tiger, which is known to regularly hunt full-grown adults. As you may have guessed, these huge animals provide a tiger with enough meat for a few days, if not weeks!The gaur plays a very crucial part in maintaining the ecological balance of the forest, especially in keeping the growth of vegetation under control. The gaur’s diet comprises grass, herbs, shrubs, leaves, fruits, and occasionally, barks of large trees.
The sheer capacity of the gaurs’ stomachs and the number of gaurs in each herd makes them a virtual ‘lawn mower’ of the wild, for they, like the African Wildebeests, methodically eat up the vegetation along their path, helping the weeding and growth of fresh vegetation in the process. They, along with other mighty creatures like elephants, help keep the growth of vegetation under control and ensure the vegetation keeps going through its cycle of life.
The other interesting aspect of the gaur is that it is the only wild species to be successfully cloned, though the calf did not survive beyond a month.