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Australian Wildlife

  Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalus)





Water Buffalo | Bubalus bubalus photo
Water Buffalo at Fogg Dam, Northern Territory

Image by Stephen Barnett - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)



WATER BUFFALO FACTS

Description
Water buffalo are large dark colour with thick neck and heavy spreading horns. They were imported to Australia in the 19th century to supply meat to remote northern settlements. The settlements and their buffalos were abandoned in 1949 and the buffalos spread across the northern floodplains. By the 1970s, feral buffalo numbers were so high that they were destroying wetlands and harbouring diseases that could affect native species and livestock. (Source: Invasive species fact sheet - Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004)

Size
Water buffalos are similar size to domestic cattle.

Habitat
Feral buffalos inhabit swamps and floodplains, where they have ready access to food and water.

Food
In the wet season (November–April), buffalos eat aquatic grasses and wetland plants. In the dry season it feeds on grasses, herbs and the leaves of plants like pandanus.

Breeding
A single calf is born after a gestation period of 11 months.

Notes
From 1979 to 1997 there was an intensive shooting program to reduce numbers of buffalo from Kakadu National Park and the northern wetlands. This was part of the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign. The difficult terrain made full eradication impossible, but substantially reduced the population remaining in the wild.



Classification
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Genus:Bubalus
Species:bubalus
Common Name:Water Buffalo