Lee Richardson Zoo has announced the arrival of two banteng, an endangered species of Asian wild cattle. This is the first time this species has called the Lee Richardson Zoo home.
The zoo is now home to five-year-old male “Studebaker” and fifteen-year-old female “Bell”. Both banteng came from the San Diego Safari Park.
“Animal Care staff have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the banteng. We were presented with a great opportunity to bring Studebaker and Bell here to help support the Banteng Species Survival Plan and were pleased that we could help out. Both banteng are settling in perfectly,” General Curator of the LRZ Sarah Colman said. “They are wonderful ambassadors to help us share the plight of wild banteng with our guests and ways they can help.”
Banteng are native to Java, Borneo, Bali, Cambodia, and other parts of Southeast Asia. In some areas, domestic cattle have hybridized with banteng to produce Bali cattle, which are numerous. True wild banteng, however, are listed as Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) due to the rapid loss of their forest homes due to logging and farming, as well as poaching for their meat and horns.
Male and female banteng are distinctly different in appearance. Males are larger, dark chocolate brown in color, and have large, upswept horns. Females are smaller, copper to rusty red in color, and have small horns that point in toward their foreheads. Both sexes have white rumps, muzzles, and legs.
The banteng can be seen enjoying their new home daily between the Chinese goral and Bactrian camel habitats.