Species in Focus – Gaur

Strength. Power. Awe.

A beast is among us.

Massive taut muscles rippling under the glossy black hide. Atop its head sits an enormous sweep of horns, sharp at the tip. Massive hoofs sink deep into the wet earth as this brute walks, each step commanding utmost respect. His years are carved into the scars that streak across his massive back. Stay on your toes, for we are at the alter of a giant.

Hidden in the bamboo is a giant

Seeing a gaur for the first time is an out-of-this-world experience.

Your brain shuts down as you struggle to comprehend the presence of the beast in front of you. The rippling muscles taut under the glossy black hide, the massive sweep of horns and the broad spread of its back is too much to take in. You must rub your eyes to make sure you’re not dreaming.

The gaur is the world’s largest bovine, and one of the most formidable animals of the Indian wilds. Often mistakenly called a bison (a different class of animals), the gaur can be found in fragmented populations across India. It is recognised by its characteristic white colouration (called stockings) that reach above its knee.

White stockings hidden in the foiliage

Photographing this animal has been incredibly hard, as they are very skittish. This is all I have to offer now. I hope to better capture this animal soon. Until then…

Fact File

Gaur (Bos gaurus)

  • Weight and Length: 650-1000 kg, 250-330 cm
  • Found in south-western, central and north-eastern India along with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable.

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Published by Ishan Shanavas

I am a young adult, interested in nature, photography, art and culture. An aspiring polymath, I share my learnings through my blog. I also include insights from my favourite books.

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