Tamaraw roaming through grass

Cattle might seem common, but today there’s nothing ordinary about an incredible group of Asian wild cattle species with names that, like the animals themselves, are unique: Banteng, Tamaraw, Saola, Anoa, and that list goes on. Up until the 16th century, 13 species of wild cattle lived across Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. Today, only 11 species are still around--and nine of those are found only in Asia. As fierce as they may be, wild cattle face a variety of threats, including habitat destruction and hunting, and as their populations get smaller, so, too, do their opportunities to breed.

Wild Cattle Infographic

Importance of Asian Wild Cattle

Asian wild cattle, like most terrestrial vertebrates, play an important role in the ecosystems in which they live. They disperse seeds to help plants grow, they help cycle nutrients in the soil, and they add balance to the food chain as prey for the predators with which they share their home. They even support communities of fungi and insects in their dung!

Supporting Wild Cattle Conservation

The IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group represents over 80 of the world’s experts on these species. They provide independent scientific advice on the conservation of Asia’s wild cattle to governments, international bodies, and conservation groups. GWC supports this specialist group so that it can continue to provide advice, maintain up to date conservation assessments for each species, and catalyze conservation for all Asian wild cattle species.

Under this support the Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group works with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the Conservation Centers for Species Survival, and the Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association for the Action Indonesia program which works to conservation Banteng and Anoa both in the wild and in the global population under human care.

Focusing on the Most Threatened

We are actively working with partners to conserve the Saola and Tamaraw, two of the most threatened Asian wild cattle species.


Saola’s global population is estimated to be as few as 20 individuals. Found only in Vietnam and Laos, they are victims of snare hunting, which is leaving forests throughout Vietnam and Laos empty of all ground-dwelling species. GWC partners with the Saola Working Group to apply the IUCN One Plan Approach to advance Saola conservation, both immediately and in the long term.

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Endemic to Mindoro Island in the Philippines, the Tamaraw numbers around 500 individuals, but the majority of these are found in a single population that is in urgent need of better protection and management. Three additional small and declining remnant populations require both protection and enhancement with supplemental animals to become viable.

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Stay Wild. Stay Connected.