Bos javanicus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Bovidae

Scientific Name: Bos javanicus
Species Authority: d'Alton, 1823
Common Name(s):
English Banteng, Tembadau
Bos birmanicus Lydekker, 1898
Bos lowi Lydekker, 1912
Taxonomic Notes: Three subspecies of Banteng have come to be generally recognized (Lekagul and McNeely 1977, National Research Council 1983):
1. B. javanicus javanicus on Java and Bali;
2. B. javanicus lowi on Borneo; and
3. B. javanicus birmanicus on the Asian mainland.

However, Grzimek (1990) argued against separating these local forms into true subspecies because a number of the small populations of wild Banteng which remain have been affected by interbreeding with domestic or feral cattle. Corbet and Hill (1992) did not recognize any valid subspecies of Banteng. Pending further morphometric and genetic analysis Bos j. javanicus and B. j. birmanicus are provisionally accepted here in recognition of the relatively pronounced phenotypic differences which exist between Banteng on Java and the Asian mainland. Frequent reports of interbreeding between wild Banteng and domestic livestock on Borneo (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008) have yet to be substantiated in Sabah and Java (J. Burton pers comm. 2016). Phylogenetic studies of B. j. lowi are confounded by the difficulties of obtaining samples. Until there is sufficient information on its genetic description, current population size, and status B. j. lowi should not be included within B. j.avanicus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-06-10
Assessor(s): Gardner, P., Hedges, S., Pudyatmoko, S., Gray, T.N.E. & Timmins, R.J.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Long, B.
Contributor(s): Steinmetz, R. & Pattanavibool, A.
Banteng is considered Endangered under Criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd. Banteng is experiencing ongoing range-wide population declines of >50% over the past ~21 years (generation-length estimated at 7 years). Declines are driven by hunting for meat and trade in horns combined with extensive habitat loss and degradation in mainland southeast Asia and Java, Sabah, and Kalimantan. The global population is estimated at approximately 8,000 individuals of which about 60% occur in the deciduous dipterocarp forests of eastern Cambodia. Declines in the Indochinese population are likely to approach the threshold (80% ongoing decline) for listing as Critically Endangered. However, a global categorization as Critically Endangered under A2 (past decline) this would have required a 1995 (three generations ago) global population of greater than 39,000 individuals. Given a substantial proportion of the population and range decline in mainland southeast Asia occurred prior to 1995 it is unlikely that sufficient high quality non-heavily hunted habitat existed in the mid 1990s to support such a substantial global population (at current densities in little-hunted parts of Cambodia, there are about two Bantengs per square kilometre – thus about 20,000 km² of similar range would have been required). As such the listing as Endangered is maintained, but the global decline rate during this period is likely to have been closer to 80% than to 50%. Somewhat reduced decline rates are expected to continue for the next 3 generations, but these are likely still to exceed a 50% loss.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The species historically occurred from southern China (Yunnan) and, probably, northeast India throughout mainland southeast Asia, through Peninsular Malaysia to the islands of Borneo, Java, and probably Bali (see below). 

No fossil evidence is known from Bali, and Grubb (2005) stated that Banteng was introduced to the island; Corbet and Hill (1992) did not include Bali in the range of wild Banteng and various other sources simply state that it occurs as domestic animals. Nevertheless, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that Banteng should be included among the native fauna of Bali since several Indo-Malayan animal species are known to have penetrated eastwards as far as Flores and Timor during times of lowered sea-levels in the Pleistocene (Hooijer 1975). On Borneo (East Kalimantan, Indonesia), ancient cave art (circa 10,000 BP) depicting a bovid figure, thought to be Bos javanicus, was found in 1994 (Chazine 2005), which suggests the natural range of Banteng extended up until Wallace’s line. Ashby and Santiapillai (1988) treated the small number of free-living Bantengs which in occur in west Bali as wild animals as did Watling (1991); although Watling noted that interbreeding with domestic Bali cattle is a problem and the population is unlikely to consist solely of pure-bred animals. Wind and Amir (1977) had earlier raised similar fears.

Domestic Banteng has been introduced to several of the islands of eastern Indonesia including Sulawesi, Sumbawa, and Sumba (van der Maarel 1932, Rollinson 1984). Feral Banteng occurs in Kalimantan (National Research Council 1983). Introduced Banteng (probably feral animals) occur on the Indonesian islands of Enggano (off Sumatra) and Sangihe (off Sulawesi) (Corbet and Hill 1992, Grubb 2005). Domestic Banteng has also been introduced to New Guinea and Australia and there are now large feral herds in the Northern Territory (Kirby 1979, Bowman 1993, Bradshaw et al. 2006).

Wild Banteng currently occurs on Java and possibly Bali, in Kalimantan [Indonesian Borneo], Sabah [part of Malaysian Borneo], Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and, probably, Lao PDR and Viet Nam. It is likely that the small remaining Banteng population in Sarawak [Malaysian Borneo] reported in 1988 (D. Labang, cited in Caldecott 1988) is now extinct. Banteng is also thought to be extinct in Brunei [Borneo] (Payne et al. 1985), Bangladesh (Gittins and Akonda 1982, Md Anwarul Islam in litt. 2008), and in India (Prater 1971, IUCN 1978), if it ever occurred there: Groves (2003) stated that “there have been constant reports from Manipur, but there is as yet no confirmation”. In West Malaysia it has probably been extinct since at least the 1950s (Hislop 1961). Medway (1983) thought that Banteng may have still occurred in parts of Kedah and Kelantan after that time, but there have been no recent records. In China, Banteng has been reported to occur in one area of southeast Yunnan, around Tongbiguan Nature Reserve, along the border with Myanmar; however, the evidence for this is unclear; and presence in China should be considered tentative at best.

One of the largest and most important populations of Banteng remains in the west of Thailand in the protected Wildlife Sanctuary Huay Kha Khaeng (R. Steinmetz and N. Bhumpakphan pers. comm. 2013), with tiny remnant populations in Kui Buri National Park in the southern province close to the Myanmar border and in the east in Pangsida National Park (R. Steinmetz pers. comm. 2013). Small populations also persist in protected forest within the east including Pangsida National Park, Ta Phraya National Park and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary with a larger population in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary (N. Bhumpakphan pers. comm. 2013). In Cambodia a substantial population remains in the east, within protected areas of Mondulkiri Province (see Population) (Gray et al. 2012). The species was until very recently likely to have been widespread in the northern and eastern forests as well as parts of the Cardamom Mountain range, but with the onset of rampant agroforestry enterprises and other forms of land-grabbing concessions occupied Cambodian range is likely to have significantly decreased in the last half decade. The bulk of the Cambodian population remains in protected areas in the eastern forests, centred on Mondulkiri province (see Population). 

On Borneo, the species occurs in isolated parts of Sabah (Malaysia Borneo) along the east coast including Tabin Wildlife Reserve, in the central and southern forest reserves including Malua Forest Reserve and Maliau Basin Conservation Area, and in secluded patches in the south west of Sabah close to the Kalimantan/Sarawak border. Reports of Banteng along the north and north east coast of Sabah suggest small populations persist in highly fragmented habitat although these are yet to be confirmed. In Kalimantan (Indonesia Borneo), it occurs along the border with Sarawak (Malaysia) in East Kalimantan in Kayan Mentarang (E. Meijaard pers. comm. 2013), Kutai National Park (S. Cheyne pers. comm. 2013), and in Central Kalimantan in Hulu Belantikan (Yayorin pers. comm. 2013). Banteng may also be present in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Kalimantan (S. Cheyne pers. comm. 2013) and in Hutan Kapur Sangkulirang Nature Reserve. Distribution in other countries is detailed under Population.

Countries occurrence:
Cambodia; Indonesia (Bali, Jawa, Kalimantan); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia - Regionally Extinct, Sabah, Sarawak - Possibly Extinct); Myanmar; Thailand; Viet Nam
Regionally extinct:
Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; India
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The world population of Banteng is likely to be approximately 8,000 individuals of which approximately 4,600 occur in a single subpopulation in eastern Cambodia (Gray et al. 2012. 2016). Outside eastern Cambodia only 6-8 subpopulations of more than 50 animals, are known, with 4–5 on Java, 1–2 in Thailand (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2000, Pudyatmoko 2004), and possibly one in Sabah (P. Gardner pers. comm. 2013). A once fairly widely distributed species, it is now largely reduced to small isolated populations, most of which are still in decline.

In Cambodia, Banteng probably declined by 90% or more between the late 1960s and the early 1990s. At this latter time it still remained widespread, although in generally low numbers, in the lowland forests of the north and east, and also, probably somewhat more sporadically, in the south and west including the Cardamom Mountain range (Heng Kimchhay et al. 1998, Daltry and Momberg 2000, Timmins and Ou 2001, R. J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). From at least this time onwards the most substantial Banteng population has been centred on Mondulkiri province where in the late 1990s it was at the time thought that at least several hundred to a perhaps over a thousand Banteng survived in a forested landscape of over 15,000 km² (Timmins and Ou 2001, Tordoff et al. 2005, R. J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). This was clearly a considerable underestimate as recent systematic surveys have estimated the population to be much larger (see below). Further declines took place from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s, with quite probably more than a 50% decline in this time period for the nation as a whole, and the resultant loss of Banteng populations from significant parts of the still forested landscape (Timmins and Ou 2001, Timmins et al. 2003, Timmins 2006, Bezuijen et al. 2008, R. J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Intensive distance-based line transects conducted between 2009 and 2011 across 3,400 km² of the core areas of Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary estimated a Banteng population of 3,200 individuals (95% CI range 1,980-5,170) (Gray et al. 2012). This was higher than previously believed; the 2008 IUCN Red List assessment suggesting no subpopulation globally exceeded 500 individuals (Timmins et al. 2008). Repeat surveys during the 2013/14 dry-season of the cores of Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary suggested the Banteng population in these areas was stable in comparison with 2009/2011 data: between 600 and 1,600 individuals in the core of Mondulkiri Protected Forest (analogous to Mondulkiri Protected Forest inner core in Gray et al. 2012) and 830 – 3,200 in the core of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (T.N.E. Gray pers. comm. 2016). Given the presence in the adjacent Seima Protection Forest (500 individuals based on 2014 line-transect density estimates; M. Maltby in litt. 2015) and outside the core of Mondulkiri Protected Forest the landscape population is probably around 4,600 individuals. However accelerating threats (particularly habitat loss and hunting; see Threats) mean this population is likely to be experiencing an ongoing decline having possibly recovered during the early 2000s following the initiation of law enforcement activities (T. Gray in litt. 2016). Elsewhere in Cambodia clearance and fragmentation of the once vast lowland forests has accelerated in the last half decade, largely due to the development of agro-industry concessions, as well as the proliferation of piecemeal small-holder farms and other land claims, and this has probably lead to extirpation (due to hunting) from a significant part of the species' former Cambodian range.

The other present-day stronghold of Banteng is Java, where six large subpopulations (those with more than 50 animals) occurred in 1990, but these declined to only 4–5 by 2004 (Pudyatmoko 2004). Pudyatmoko (2004) estimated: Ujung Kulon National Park (300–800 individuals in 2003), Cikepuh-Cibanteng Nature Reserve (25–65 individuals in 2003), Bonjonglarang-Jayanti Region (a small stable population of unknown size in 1988, with no recent data available), Cimapag Region (occurrence recorded until 1970, with current status unknown), Leuweng Sancang Nature Reserve (10 individuals in 2000, extinct in 2003), Cikamurang Region (occurrence recorded until 1970, with current status unknown), Pangandaran Nature Reserve (25–65 individuals in 2003), Kediri Region (occurrence recorded until 1970, with current status unknown), Coast of Blitar (10 individuals in 1988, with current status unknown), Coast of Malang (six individuals in 1988, with current status unknown), Meru Betiri National Park (200 individuals in 2000, with at least 57 individuals in 2002), Alas Purwo National Park (with at least 80 individuals in 2002), and Baluran National Park (around 206 individuals in 2002). Numbers in all areas are declining (Hedges and Tyson 1996, S. Hedges unpub. data. 1991–2002, Pudyatmoko 2004).

Population numbers and even trends are difficult to quantify for the island of Borneo but there have been declines, especially in Kalimantan (S. Pudyatmoko pers. comm. 2006, G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2006), and in Sabah (P. Gardner pers. comm. 2013). The Bornean population is thought to have been particularly negatively affected by interbreeding with domestic and/or feral oxen of types other than pure-bred ‘Bali Cattle’. 

Up until at least the early twentieth Century, Banteng was still found throughout what is now Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), albeit disappearing in some areas (in particular, in South Kalimantan) (Gardner et al. unpubl. data). By the early 2000s, Banteng was thought to be widespread but rare in East Kalimantan, on the basis of recent (mid- and late-1990s) reports from many areas, including Kayan Mentarang National Park (NP), and within or close to Hutan Kapur Sangkulirang (an unprotected area that has been proposed for protection since the early 1980s) (Hedges and Meijaard 1999, E. Meijaard unpubl. data). Banteng persists in East Kalimantan in Kutai National Park; camera trap images confirmed breeding (a female calf approximately 4-5 months old and a bull approx. 3-4 years old) however the population size is thought to be very small, given the lack of recent observations compared with survey effort (S. Cheyne pers. comm. 2013). The species might also persist in Hutan Kapur Sangkulirang Nature Reserve, although no recent reports have been confirmed. A small population was reported from Belantikan Hulu in Central Kalimantan in November 2007 (tracks found) and April 2008 (local reports of capture of cow and calf); the population is believed to be small (T. Simorangkir pers. comm. 2008). This population was reconfirmed in 2013 from camera trap images of a bull and cow but its size remains unknown (Yayorin pers. comm. 2013). 

Banteng also occurs along the border with Sarawak in East Kalimantan in Kayan Mentarang (E. Meijaard pers. comm. 2013); in 1999 observations were made of a solitary young bull and a small herd of four individuals (including cows), in addition to tracks and dung signs (Hedges and Meijaard 1999). There are concerns over the genetic integrity of Banteng in this area because of the presence of domestic cattle, abandoned in 1979 by villagers, which might have interbred with the wild Banteng (Hedges and Meijaard 1999).

In Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) Banteng was probably largely restricted to the alluvial plains of the coastal belt (Wharton 1968). Low (1848, cited by Wharton 1968) reported that the Banteng in Sarawak lived chiefly in the bamboo forests along the Sangow and Baram Rivers, where according to Banks (1931) domestic Banteng was kept by the Kalabit people (thus raising the possibility that the Banteng populations in Sarawak and neighbouring parts of Kalimantan may be partly feral in origin, or contain hybrid animals) (P. Gardner et al. unpubl. data). Beccari (1904) indicated that the species was not scarce but kept mainly to areas of secondary growth in the interior. Banks (1931) reported that Banteng did not occur south of the Baleh River (a tributary of the Rejang River) in Sarawak, and was found in the headwaters of most rivers to the north of this. He further mentioned the Niah District where Banteng was relatively common, Merapok in the Lawas district, Ulu Trusan, Limbang, various places in the Baram, above Tubau in the Ulu Bintulu, at Belaga and down to the head of the Pelagus rapids, but not into the neighbouring Mukah and Oya Rivers. In the 1950s, Banteng was still common around the Niah Caves but ‘this is one of the few places where it is so in Borneo today’ (Harrisson 1961), and by 1967 few Bantengs were thought to be left in Sarawak (Anderson, pers. comm. to Wharton 1968). In the early 1980s, Banteng apparently persisted in the more remote parts of north and east Sarawak (Aken and Kavanagh 1982), but Payne et al. (1985) stated that there had been no recent reports [although Labang (1987 cited by Caldecott, 1988) reportedly found evidence of their continued presence]. However, few, if any Bantengs persist in Sarawak as of 2016, although they may cross into Sarawak from neighbouring Kalimantan, where they were known to occur in the large Kayan Mentarang NP at least until the late 1990s (Hedges and Meijaard 1999).

The population in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) is in decline primarily because of continual loss of habitat, human disturbance causing displacement, and rampant hunting (P. Gardner pers. obs). Quantifying accurate population sizes are problematic and continue to be confounded by a range of issues including the inhospitable habitat, the shy nature of the species, and detection and quantification of the species. Prior to the 1940s, Banteng was reported to be common in riverine areas in the east, and in many areas of shifting cultivation. However, the subsequent widespread use of firearms led to the species's rapid extermination from most areas. In 1982, it was reported to be locally common in logged forest on flat terrain, but under threat as its habitat was converted into permanent agricultural land (Davies and Payne 1982). 

The state-wide population estimate in 1982 was 300-550 individuals (Davies and Payne 1982) but this was based on community surveys in accessible locations and did not include all Banteng populations. The biggest population decline occurred during the intensive and extensive timber operation and transformation of lowland forests large-scale plantations (palm oil, cocoa and other crops) late in the twentieth century (Ahmad AH pers. comm. 2008). During this period (years 1970-2000) of intensification, the decline in Banteng was thought to be over 50% in Sabah and Borneo as a whole (B. Giman pers. comm. 2008). In 1990, Banteng still occurred south of Gunung Lumaku (in the upper reaches of the Padas River) but it had been extirpated from all other parts of south-western Sabah according to local people (Payne 1990).

Since this time, new road infrastructure has opened up the interior of Sabah and vast land-use changes continue to remove much of the natural forest habitat. Encroachment and hunting has undoubtedly increased over the past four decades as a result of habitat conversion and extensive networks of logging roads. Some populations are known to have been eradicated in the past three decades, and the current population size is very likely to be less than 350 individuals. Introgression with domestic cattle has not been observed in five forests containing Banteng, surveyed over the past three years, although reports suggested domestic cattle were abandoned at logging camps and interbred with wild Banteng in Dermakot Forest Reserve. The potential for disease transmission from domestic livestock is unquestionable as Banteng is found in close proximity to water buffalo and cows in forest habitat located adjacent to plantations and private land. As of 2016, rampant hunting continues to deplete remnant populations (P. Gardner pers. obs). The security of Banteng is further compromised in locations where the animals move between protected forest and timber plantations, privately-owned forest and grassland to search for forage (P. Gardner pers. obs). In one area, Bantengs are encouraged into privately owned grassland managed for recreational sport hunting (P. Gardner pers. obs). Otherwise, populations in Sabah are now confined to remote forest and swamp habitat which are highly fragmented; the prevention of gene-flow between fragmented populations may compromise the genetic-integrity of future generations. Timber plantations are not considered to be a main habitat of Banteng due to the temporary status of the forest and the regular eradication of the vegetation which forces the Banteng into nearby natural forest. Between 2009 and 2015, remnant subpopulations were confirmed on the east coast in Kulamba Wildlife Reserve, and Tabin Wildlife Reserve (approximately 52 individuals). In the central and southern reserves including Dermakot Forest Reserve, Tangkulap Forest Reserve, Segaluid Forest Reserve, Malua Forest Reserve (approximately 35 individuals), Ulu-Segama Malua Forest Reserve, Danum Valley Conservation Area, and Maliau Basin Conservation Area [over 10 individuals] (Melletti and Burton 2014). On the south west coast there is a small population (size unknown) in Sipitang Forest Reserve, and Banteng was recently confirmed as present in Sapulut Forest Reserve. Unconfirmed populations may also persist on the west, north and north-east coast of Sabah. Subpopulations thought to have gone extinct since 1982 include herds in the Dent peninsular, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and Kinabatangan district, Beaufort district, Keningau district, and Kudat and Murudu Bay. At least four populations successfully bred in years 2009-2013 (P. Gardner pers. obs) but during this time, hunting simultaneously removed mature individuals.

In Thailand, the only subpopulations with more than 50 animals are Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and perhaps Kaeng Krachan National Park. In Kaeng Krachan National Park the density of Banteng is thought to be low; the situation has not significantly improved and there is no obvious hope for recovery of the population (A. Pattanavibool pers. comm. 2013). Smaller numbers do or may persist in Mae Ping National Park, Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary, Thap Lan National Park, Khao Ang Ruenai Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Sok National Park, Kui Buri National Park (approx. 3 individuals remain) and Pang Sida National Park (signs of a small herd) (R. Steinmetz pers. comm. 2013). Banteng are also found in the Western Forest Complex but continue to face serious fragmentation and poaching for meat and parts (A. Pattanavibool pers. comm. 2013). Recovery of this population is still considered very limited and is only applicable to areas where habitat remains and where there is good protection (A. Pattanavibool pers. comm. 2013). Banteng range probably declined by approximately 85% in Thailand from 1980 to 2000 (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2000). The Banteng population in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (one of few >50) did not increase during years 2006-2008 (per R. Steinmetz pers. comm. 2008) however it persists as of 2013 (N. Bhampakhan pers. comm. 2013). Banteng is one of the significant ecosystem engineers within this fire-prone landscape but is threatened by a lack of forage as a result of post-fire regeneration of highly invasive evergreen species which smoother the ground and prevent the growth of important grasses (N. Bhampakphan pers. comm. 2013). A population in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in the east of Thailand is reported to be increasing from a population genetic bottle-neck (N. Bhampakhan pers. comm. 2013). The Thai Banteng populations outside Huai Kha Khaeng and Khao Ang Rue Nai however are not increasing and for this reason it is imperative to maintain the status of Banteng within the protected reserves (N. Bhampakhan pers. comm. 2013). 

Numbers in Lao PDR are now likely to be very low (Duckworth and Hedges 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999, R. J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, T. Gray pers. comm. 2013). Evidence of Banteng was found for a number of areas in the 1990s (Duckworth and Hedges 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999, Steinmetz 2004), but there has been very little survey effort since 1998. Confirmation of presence after the mid-1990s, when populations were in steep decline (Duckworth and Hedges 1998), is lacking. Most areas have received little if any protection: so it is quite likely that Banteng has been hunted out from several, perhaps most, conceivably all, of them (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). The most likely areas for continued presence are in the southern half of the country; it is possible that no populations greater than 10 individuals remain (T. Gray pers. comm. 2013), and populations of conservation significance are only conceivable in perhaps two to three areas, two of which lie along the international border with Cambodia (R. Steinmetz pers. comm. 2008). A similar scenario is likely in Viet Nam, although persistence is more likely (R. Steinmetz pers. comm. 2008). Pedrono et al. (2009) estimated the overall population, in five contiguous areas in the Eastern Highlands, as between 74 and 103 individuals; the largest populations were in Yok Don National Park (30-44 individuals) and Ea So Nature Reserve (23-31 individuals). Reports however suggest that management conditions and illegal activities may have led to declines in the relatively high profile Yok Don NP, leaving in question the status of the species in lower profile areas (R. Steinmetz pers. comm. 2008).

Little recent information has been traced from Myanmar: a national camera-trapping survey aimed at the Tiger Panthera tigris, which will not necessarily have covered all, or even the best, areas for Banteng, recorded it in and around Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, Mahamyaing Reserve Forest, and the central Bago (Pegu) Yoma (Lynam 2003). Current numbers are unknown but are sure to be declining, given general trends in ungulates in better-studied parts of the country. There are no quantitative data available on numbers remaining in China, but there are, if any, at most very few.

A domesticated form of Banteng, often called ‘Bali Cattle’, and considered to be the same species (contrasting with general taxonomic treatment for several other oxen) occurs widely in Indonesia and has been introduced to other areas of the world. However, few if any populations of this form are now likely to be pure-bred, because of interbreeding with domestic oxen derived from other Bos species (Bradshaw et al. 2006). One population of approximately 6,000 animals, which appears now to be superficially indistinguishable from wild Banteng, thrives in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, on the Cobourg Peninsula in Northern Territory, Australia. These animals derive from approximately 20 domesticated ‘Banteng’ taken from Denpasar, Bali in 1849, and they have recently been shown to be genetically indistinguishable from wild Banteng, at least to the extent of the molecular sequences analysed. This suggests that they have not been cross-bred previously to any significant extent with other domestic cattle (Bradshaw et al. 2006). Some domestic oxen lineages in mainland South-east Asia, for instance in Cambodia, may have at least partial Banteng ancestry (e.g. Timmins and Ou 2001).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:4000-8000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Wharton (1968) summarized information about Banteng habitat from throughout its range and he concluded that on the Asian mainland it avoids evergreen forest and even extensive tracts of closed canopy semi-evergreen forest, and is usually within more open dry deciduous forests; but within the more humid areas of Java and Borneo it occupies secondary forest formations resulting from logging and fires, and enters tracts of sub-humid forest on occasion. However, on mainland South-east Asia, human use of these preferred areas has increased and may have forced residual groups of surviving Banteng to retreat to relatively closed formations where consequently they now overlap more with Gaur Bos gaurus; although good evidence for such an assertion is lacking. On the eastern plains of Cambodia where the species remains numerous, but human use is relatively high, there is no evidence for any change in ecology. In Myanmar, Banteng is reported to prefer flat or undulating terrain with light deciduous (particularly dipterocarp indaing forest) or mixed deciduous and evergreen forest, with grassy glades which burn annually, and patches of bamboo; but it has purportedly retreated to denser hill forest in the face of advancing cultivation. (Peacock 1933, Wharton 1968, Tun Yin 1967, Prater 1971). Similarly in Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Lao PDR, Banteng occurs (or occurred) in open mainly deciduous forest with glades, parklands, and dense forest patches; and ‘it is claimed by some that they prefer rocky, slightly hilly country, but they are certainly at home wherever the Kouprey [Bos sauveli] is found. Their range in Cambodia [and elsewhere in South-east Asia] suggests that Banting [sic] are more adaptable than Kouprey and perhaps less exacting in their habitat requirements’ (Wharton 1957, 1968). Recently the attachment to open, more deciduous forest types was reported in Xe Pian National Protected Area, Lao PDR (Steinmetz 2004). The documented and reported distribution of the species in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam (based on many sources, but principally summarized in Duckworth and Hedges 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999 and AWCSG 2011) quite clearly corresponds in large part to the distribution of deciduous dipterocarp forest, but also includes other habitats especially mosaic habitats that include open-canopy formations and grasslands, including for example pine forests. In contrast there is a clear paucity of records of Banteng from extensive tracts of closed canopy evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, with no records from the heart of any such dense forests. The supposition that it might prefer rocky, slightly hilly country has not been borne out by recent observations. In the Eastern Plains Landscape, Cambodia, Gray (2012), based on analysis of camera-trap records, considered that Banteng occurred in both very open deciduous dipterocarp forest and denser mixed deciduous forest. It was also suggested that, in the largely homogenous deciduous dipterocarp forest of the Cambodian Eastern Plains Landscape small patches of mixed deciduous forest are important for Banteng at the height of the dry and burning seasons.

In Sabah (Malaysia Borneo) Banteng inhabits tropical lowland and upland dipterocarp forest, lower montane forest, seasonal freshwater swamp forest and beach forest (Melletti and Burton 2014). It also uses open grassland, mature timber plantations (7 years), and abandoned cultivated land. Forest edges, interior openings, abandoned logging roads and river banks are important for foraging, socializing and movement (Payne et al. 1985, Gardner 2015). Human disturbance heavily influences habitat use. In forest habitat that is mature, Banteng travels to interior grassy openings within the forest to forage or travels to the forest edge to forage during undisturbed hours (Gardner 2015).

In Java Banteng occurs in semi-deciduous monsoon forest with small clearings, more open grassland-monsoon forest mosaics, and ‘parkland’ formations (Halder 1976, Hommel 1987, S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008, based on unpubl. data 1991–2002).

Banteng generally occurs from sea level up to at least 2,100 m asl (Hoogerwerf 1970, National Research Council 1983, Pudyatmoko 2004, S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008 base on unpubl. data 1991–2002). The observed maximum elevation of Banteng in Sabah is approximately 1,330 m a.s.l. (P. Gardner pers. obs).

Banteng reportedly drinks large quantities of water and prefers feeding grounds near a permanent water supply (Hoogerwerf 1970). When conditions are favourable it drinks daily, preferring standing water; but during droughts animals can survive several days without drinking (National Research Council 1983). Mineral licks are also an important feature of Banteng habitat; in coastal regions which lack mineral licks animals seem to meet their mineral requirements by occasionally drinking seawater (Halder 1976, Payne et al. 1985, Alikodra 1987, S. Hedges pers. obs.).

Although probably a grazer by preference Banteng should perhaps be considered an intermediate feeder since it can and does consume a lot of browse and fruits depending on season and local food availability. It eats grasses, sedges, herbs, bamboo, as well as the leaves, fruits, flowers, bark, and young branches of woody shrubs and trees including palms. The young shoots of Alang-alang grass Imperata cylindrica are apparently a favoured food source (Hoogerwerf 1970). Lists of food plants are provided by Wharton (1957), Hoogerwerf (1970), Halder (1976), Sumardja and Kartawinata (1977), Djaja et al. (1982), Alikodra (1987), Prayurasiddhi and Smith (1993), and Hedges (in prep.). However, very little is known about the Banteng’s nutritional requirements, seasonal and annual variation in dietary preferences, or the composition and quality of diet. Hoogerwerf was of the opinion that Banteng was largely dependent on grasses and sedges and, with reference to Ujung Kulon in West Java, he stated that ‘there were no proofs that browse formed a substantial part of the diet’. However, Schenkel and Schenkel-Hulliger (1969) reported that Banteng and deer in Ujung Kulon are forced to travel widely in the dry season and ‘feed on bamboo, young palm leaves, bush, and saplings as well’. And the stomachs of a number of bulls which were shot in the South Tjiandur region of Java were almost completely full of non-graminaceous species. In Pananjung-Pangandaran Reserve in West Java Banteng were observed to graze on a variety of plants but appeared to prefer the grasses Ischaemum muticum, Axonopus compressus, Paspalum conjugatum, and Cynodon dactylon; and a woody forest shrub. Grazing intensity was lower in the forest than in the open fields where it was inversely proportional to the amount of Eupatorium odoratum (= Chromolaena odorata) and Imperata cylindrica although they did eat these species (Sumardja and Kartawinata 1977). In Sabah, Banteng was found to forage on eight species found within open canopy sites: Mikania cordataEupatorium odoratum, Cyperus difformis, Fibristylis littoralis, Scleria sp,, Dismodium triflorium, Eleusine indica, and Selaginella sp. 

When undisturbed, Banteng displays a more or less fixed diurnal pattern of behaviour with periods (usually two to three hours long) of feeding alternating with rest periods of a similar length during which the animals ruminate. In areas which are subject to frequent human disturbance it becomes rather nocturnal and generally enters open areas only at night, although in especially attractive localities it will tolerate human presence to a certain extent (Halder 1976). In undisturbed areas Bantengs ‘do not differentiate much in their activities between day and night, but...really large assemblages on open plains occur almost exclusively by day...This round the clock activity (which is, however, interrupted countless times to rest and/or ruminate) may not be regarded as abnormal’ (Hoogerwerf 1970: 211-212).

In undisturbed forest habitat in Sabah (Malaysia Borneo) Banteng activity peaks at dawn and during the early morning hours of 05:00-07:00 hours when the animals emerge from the forest to forage and socialize. Activity decreases mid-morning until early afternoon when they rest and ruminate and at dusk, a second peak in activity occurs during which they forage and socialize (Gardner 2015). Banteng activity decreases around 20:00-21:00 hours and again at 03:00-04:00; the reasons for this are unknown (Melletti and Burton 2014, Gardner, 2015). Analysis of 160 Banteng camera-trap encounters from the Cambodian Eastern Plains showed nocturnal activity with over 80% of encounters between 18:00 and 06:00 hours (Gray and Phan 2011).

The basic social group appears to be female–juvenile unit (as in the other large Asian Bovini) with larger groups tending to be more-or-less temporary assemblages. Maternal herds containing several adult cows, juveniles, and calves occur; these groups can often contain one or more subadult and adult males. Groups of cows without calves are also seen. For much of the year (adult) Bantengs are largely sexually segregated and all-male groups are frequently encountered at this time. Solitary animals tend to be mature bulls or sometimes old cows. The composition of small groups of cows with calves or juveniles, and the solitary state of old individuals may remain the same for months or even years. The composition of other small groups, particularly the unisex groups, usually varies from day to day. During the mating season the male groups disband and dominant males compete for access to receptive females (Hoogerwerf 1970, Halder 1976, S. Hedges unpubl. data 1991-2002). In large open areas small herds of Banteng and solitary individuals regularly gather to form large temporary assemblages. These large herds will often spend up to two days together during which time they will forage and ruminate, socialize, and re-establish their hierarchy.

Large herds of more than 100 animals have been reported in Java but these herds appear to be temporary associations formed when smaller groups and solitary animals arrive in an area to feed and the animals tend to reform into smaller groups when they leave the feeding areas. The composition of these groups often varies on a daily basis although there may be a stable nucleus of animals which returns to the same clearing day after day. The large herds may have an established dominance hierarchy but it seems to vary depending on the habitat. In more densely vegetated areas solitary animals or small groups, generally with fewer than eight animals, are more typical (Halder 1973, 1976; S. Hedges unpubl. data 1991–2002). In the Eastern Plains Landscape, Cambodia, mean Banteng herd size (estimated from counting individuals in independent camera-trap encounters) was 2.6 individuals with 14% of encounters estimated to comprise groups of more than five individuals (Phan and Gray 2010).

In Thailand the mating season is in May and June (Lekagul and McNeely 1977); while breeding reportedly occurs the whole year round in Myanmar (Peacock 1933). Wharton (1957) collected information from Cambodians living within Banteng habitat which suggested that the majority of births occurred in December and January which, assuming a gestation period of about 10 months, suggests that most conceptions take place in March and April. However, Hermanns (cited in Hoogerwerf 1970) was of the opinion that Bantengs in mainland Asia mate from September to October. Hoogerwerf (1970) recorded mating taking place all year round in West Java but there was a peak of activity in October; and he thought that those cows which mated outside the peak period were probably exceptional. He was of the opinion that Bantengs in both East and West Java generally calved in July and August which would suggest that mating generally took place from October to December; more recent observations in East Java have also revealed evidence of year-round matings (neonates have been seen in all months) but with an apparent peak of births between June and September (S. Hedges unpubl. data 1991–2002).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Banteng is hunted for food, traditional medicinal substances, sport, and trophy horns. Newspaper reports of Banteng hunting in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) are infrequent and usually arise from tip-offs to the government departments, the true number of successful Banteng hunts are known to be much higher however, due to the number of reports obtained from locals and timber contractors, the high frequency of photographic captures of hunters, and the reports of intimidation of forest rangers by military personnel and officials conducting sport hunting within protected forests. Occasionally Banteng horns can be found at local markets in Sabah and their use is thought to be for soups (to increase general vitality) and as a tool to rub or scratch the skin (the latter may have been a misleading interpretation however). 
There are a number of captive animals within zoos and other menageries, but these constitute an insignificant offtake in recent years from wild populations.
There is a domesticated form of Banteng, but its uses supply needs/markets independent of those supplied by wild caught animals. Uses of the domesticated form of Banteng are not considered here, nor are the uses of feral Australian populations.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats to Banteng throughout its range are hunting and increasing loss of habitat (Duckworth and Hedges 1998, Pudyatmoko 2004, Steinmetz 2004, S. Hedges unpub. data 1991–2002, T. Gray pers. comm. 2013). In Viet Nam and Lao PDR where the rate of lowland forest loss is also accelerating habitat loss is primarily a concern for the future viability of national populations, the species having been hunted out of forests long before they are cleared. In Indochina generally, habitat loss and fragmentation are secondary to hunting, largely acting indirectly by increasing accessibility of remnant Banteng populations to hunting. In mainland South-east Asia hunting is the main direct threat and the species has been lost from much of its former range, even where suitable habitat remains (Duckworth and Hedges 1998, Duckworth et al. 1999, Tordoff et al. 2005, R. J. Timmins pers. comm. 2013). Hunting is exacerbated especially in mainland South-east Asia by human repopulation of lowland forest areas and associated habitat fragmentation, that is, the very areas where most Bantengs occur (Duckworth and Hedges 1998, Timmins and Ou 2001, R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Although huge tracts of suitable habitat were lost in the twentieth century, and continue to be converted, this has probably occurred largely after Banteng was hunted out (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Thus, the hunting is the proximate cause of decline, but habitat loss is continually reducing the maximum population possible if hunting issues were to be controlled, and is increasing the ease with which remaining animals can be hunted. The recent granting of large-scale economic land concessions for industrial agriculture (particularly rubber plantations) is a significant threat to remaining lowland deciduous forest (and hence Banteng habitat) in northern and eastern Cambodia. Large areas of the species’ current Cambodian range (including inside protected areas) are threatened through land concessions (T. Gray pers. comm. 2013); however 2016 changes in the management of forests and protected areas by the Royal Government of Cambodia may have mitigated this threat to an extent (T. Gray in litt. 2016). The magnitude of the threat posed to Banteng by international trade in trophy horns is difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, given the small size of the remaining Banteng population and the number of trophies found for sale in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam, during what were essentially opportunistic surveys, it is clearly a major threat on the Asian mainland (Srikosamatara et al. 1992; Baird 1993; Srikosamatara and Suteethorn 1994, 1995; Martin and Phipps 1996; Srifa La-Ong et al. 1997; Duckworth et al. 1999; Timmins and Ou 2001). The threat posed by use of traditional medicinal substances derived from wild oxen is even harder to determine in the case of Banteng and essentially remains unknown, although it is thought to be a source of significant threat to Gaur (see 2008 Red List account). A growing regional economy has increased rather than decreased the demand for natural resources, Banteng amongst them, and the potential benefits of hunting Banteng with possibilities of significant market value in the form of wild meat, trophies and traditional medicines must make it a lucrative target.
The most important population in Cambodia is scattered through a forest landscape that encompasses four provinces (Mondulkiri, Kratie, Stung Treng and Ratanakiri) and five conservation areas (Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, Siema Protection Forest, Mondulkiri and O’Yadao Protected Forests Timmins and Ou 2001, Tordoff et al. 2005, R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Hunting is still rife in much of this area, and forest fragmentation is rapidly accelerating with human population in-migration, infrastructural developments (especially roads), commercial agricultural expansion, economic land speculation and mineral extraction (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Banteng remain actively targeted for hunting for meat and trophy antlers in Cambodia serving both domestic and regional, particularly Vietnamese, markets. For example in the first half of 2016 a minimum of six Banteng were known to be poached from Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (WWF in litt. 2016). Banteng meat is also regularly confiscated by enforcement agencies within Mondulkiri province and poaching, both targeted and as by-catch from snares, is a substantial threat to all Cambodian populations. However, although perhaps less than 20% of this area is well protected from the aforementioned threats and protected area management is only close to effective in three areas, the most significant issue concerning the area is the long-term uncertainty of continuation of effective conservation management of Mondulkiri Protected Forest, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and Siema Protection Forest (T. Gray pers. comm. 2013). Although conservation efforts for Banteng and many other species have been, in all three areas, extremely encouraging for some years as of 2016, they face an uncertain future with the possibility of de-gazettment of conservation status of parts of them, the possible loss of adequate external funding necessary to maintain high standards of management, the possible loss of political support necessary to uphold high protection standards and the uncertainties of maintaining a motivated and well-trained staff. Indeed since 2011 accelerating threats to all three protected areas, largely driven through commercial logging of high-value timber species, is causing widespread ungulate hunting (T. Gray pers. comm. 2013).  In most cases the remaining Banteng populations are well isolated from cattle including the domestic oxen. In Cambodia, the Eastern plains population is still large and thus probably unlikely to be effected by rare introgression events. In Thailand one population of Banteng in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary suffered declines in past years and, as a result, experienced a population genetic bottle-neck (N. Bhampakphan pers. comm. 2013); the loss of genetic diversity potentially increases the susceptibility of deleterious genetic defects and risk of disease in the future. Genetic introgression from non-native Banteng is a threat; Banteng sampled from the western and eastern regions of Thailand identified eight haplotypes using the cytochrome b gene and control region (1079 bp). The highest diversity (six haplotypes) was found in Huai Kha Khaend Wildlife Sanctuary however two haplotypes (seven individuals) from Lam Pao Dam, Kalasin province, were classified as Javan Banteng Bos javanicus javanicus (W. Wajjwalku and W. Klinsawat pers. comm. 2013). In addition to the genetic threat, domestic livestock are a potential source of diseases and parasites. This can have very serious consequences for Banteng which appears to be particularly susceptible to a number of cattle diseases; for example, Banteng populations in Myanmar have in the past been very badly affected by diseases from domestic cattle (Hundley cited in Wharton 1968).

In Sabah habitat loss to permanent agriculture is a serious and ongoing threat (P. Gardner pers. comm. 2013). In areas of Sabah where habitat loss is not absolute, the Banteng seeks refuge in dense forest patches generally found at higher elevations because they are unsuitable for harvesting and agriculture (P. Gardner pers. obs). Disturbance from agriculture and logging intervals in commercially managed forest also causes displacement and stress, potentially influencing breeding of Banteng (P. Gardner pers. obs). Hunting is equally significant and the species has been rapidly exterminated from many areas (Payne et al. 1985, Ahmad AH pers. comm. 2008). Rampant hunting in Sabah now targets remnant herds, removing mature breeding individuals important for sustaining herds (P. Gardner pers. obs). On Java some populations are potentially threatened by heavy predation from Dhole Cuon alphinus (Hedges and Tyson 1996, Pudyatmoko 2004). All populations are also threatened by poaching and some, perhaps most, are threatened by habitat loss and degradation (S. Hedges unpub. data 1991–2002). During the 1980s–1990s, when poaching and land conversion were relatively well under control in Javan national parks, the chief threat to the large population of Banteng in Baluran National Park was loss of grazing area to invasion by the introduced tree Acacia nilotica (Leguminosae) that converts open grassland to dense thorny scrub-forest. This plant was introduced (without adequate risk assessment) as part of an attempt to create a living fire-break around the park's grasslands, wild fire then being adjudged the major threat to the park’s monsoon forests. Since that introduction, repeated cutting of the acacia has led to coppicing into very dense thickets that contain little or no grass or other herbs and are difficult for the cattle to penetrate. Thus habitat loss and poaching are now serious limiting factors in Baluran National Park, and habitat loss/degradation remains a severe long-term threat to be addressed (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008). Lantana camara (Verbenaceae) is also a problem in Banteng habitat in Baluran National Park and elsewhere on Java (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008).

Bali cattle have long been interbred with other cattle: Banteng and Bali cattle can interbreed with both common cattle and Mithan Bos frontalis (Fischer 1980, National Research Council 1983). Hybrids between Banteng and common cattle Bos taurus of the zebu type are fully fertile; in hybrids between Banteng and Bos taurus of the European type the males are sterile (Jellinek et al. 1980, National Research Council 1983). Domestic and feral livestock are thus a potential threat to the genetic integrity of wild Banteng populations and a number of reports suggest that wild Banteng does interbreed with domestic cattle. For example, Hoogerwerf (1970) referred to several sources from the 1930s and 1940s which mention that many groups of Banteng in Kalimantan (particularly East Kalimantan) were no longer pure-bred having interbred with stray domestic cattle. Wharton (1957) also found evidence of interbreeding with domestic cattle in Cambodia; and reports from Myanmar mention that Bantengs feed alongside village cattle and occasionally interbreed with them (Tun Yin 1967, Salter 1983). 

Hunting for Banteng trophy heads continues to threaten the population in Sabah and Kalimantan. Reports suggest an international trade in trophy heads originating from Kalimantan and sold across the Sabah border however first-hand accounts have yet to be substantiated. The majority of trophy heads and horns encountered in 2012 and 2013 were found in wildlife displays by government departments. Encounters of trophy heads are made in rural villages but are generally infrequent because of the fear of reprisal by wildlife authorities but also the demand for horns for use in soups.

Introgression with domestic cattle is not believed to be a current threat to Banteng in Sabah but genetic studies are in their infancy. Poor management of domestic cattle has the potential to cause introgression; one old report suggested a feral Bali cow or a Banteng/Bali cow hybrid with (white spotted) pelage was hunted within the south-west of Sabah. A separate report suggested domestic cattle were left in abandoned logging camps in Deramakot Forest Reserve at some point in the past three decades and may have interbred with wild Banteng. In the majority of locations that utilize domestic cattle their security is maintained with fenced enclosures. Water Buffaloes are frequently used in the harvesting of oil palm fruit, and are frequently grazed along forest boundaries. In 2012 in east Sabah, Water Buffaloes were found approximately 200 m from wild Banteng.  The genetic integrity of Banteng is of primary concern in Sabah, where fragmentation and isolation of populations now prevents movement of individuals and the transmission of genes between populations. The removal of mature individuals by illegal hunting will disrupt breeding behaviour and the social structure of the herds, in addition to the direct loss of genetic diversity. Small and isolated populations are susceptible to inbreeding, which will undoubtedly lead to a loss of allelic diversity and increase the risk of identical genotypes. Genetic homogeneity in the Banteng will decrease their overall fitness, and their ability to resist diseases and deleterious genetic mutations. Active genetic management of wild Banteng stock in Sabah is most likely to be the only way to prevent loss of genetic diversity and the imminent threat of extinction.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is legally protected in all range states. A proposal for inclusion into CITES Appendix 1 was submitted (Hedges 1996) however there have been no developments and the species is not currently listed.

The most significant known Banteng populations remaining are in Java, Cambodia and perhaps Thailand and Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia), and it is in these countries and around these populations that conservation efforts should be focused.

Banteng is mainly confined to protected areas throughout southeast Asia (see Population), with the probable exception of Cambodia. Banteng presence in Lao protected areas is currently uncertain but there are at least 10 large forested protected areas in the south which might still support the species as well as three to four areas further north, but any populations are certainly not large. In Viet Nam, the species probably now occurs in only a few protected areas (see Population). In Myanmar, Banteng can be found in protected national parks and forest reserves.  

In Cambodia, most of the large forested protected areas, of which there are more than 15, are likely to retain at least residual Banteng populations. Unfortunately, in most protected areas of Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Cambodia which still retain Banteng, protected status offers little if any protection to the species (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Exceptions are Mondulkiri Protected Forest, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and Siema Biodiversity Conservation Area in Cambodia; and there are now even signs of population recovery in these areas (WCS unpublished data; WWF unpublished data). The immediate conservation needs for the large Mondulkiri-centred Cambodian population are to continue strengthening site-based conservation management, in particular of the Mondulkiri Protected Forest, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and and Siema Biodiversity Conservation Area, and laying the necessary groundwork to ensure that such management can be continued indefinitely.

Java has highly fragmented natural habitats and has done for centuries, reflecting longstanding high human population densities. Many protected areas were established during the Dutch colonial period but from independence up until the 1970s they were largely under-funded and neglected. After hosting the World Parks Conference in 1982, the Indonesian government gazetted a swathe of national parks and more structured conservation planning began, funded by the World Bank and other donors. The focus was largely on the 'multi-function' national parks and much money was spent on infrastructure, some staff training and increased personnel. The 'lesser' protected areas such as "game reserves" and "nature reserves" still had few staff and resources, and that has continued to the present. There was some habitat loss from protected areas through illegal logging, agricultural encroachment and other off-take, but the national parks of Java (several of which contain ideal habitat for Banteng and, at least into the mid 1990s, large populations) remained remarkably close to intact for much of the period. During the 1980s and early to mid 1990s guns were tightly controlled and the military and police were feared and respected. The strong culture of caged bird keeping meant that hunting, including that within protected areas, was primarily for birds and some smaller mammals, through various forms of trapping, including snaring. Thus there was relatively little hunting of Banteng and populations were stable or even increasing. Socio-political changes from 1997 led to a reduction in the respect for the police and military and the rise of a viewpoint that protected areas were the people's resources and would therefore benefit from decentralized management (M. Tyson pers. comm. 2008). This policy change, which risked a ‘tragedy of the commons’, has indeed led to increased destruction and poaching in the past decade. Banteng, as a large ungulate, is particularly threatened by this rapid rise in illegal hunting (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008) and also by expansion of agriculture on Java and other forms of encroachment (G. Semiadi pers. comm. 2008, S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008.). The decentralization of conservation management decisions and actions, macro-economic fluctuations and reduced authority of the law impedes control of illegal hunting (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2008). The Indonesian government has produced a National Strategy and Action Plan for Banteng in 2012 (Pudyatmoko et al. 2012), which it is hoped will raise awareness of their continuing decline and focus conservation efforts on the most important populations.

In Thailand there are two populations thought to contain over 50 individuals, in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaeng Krachan National Park. Both areas are under active conservation management. 

In Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia), sub-populations are becoming fragmented, which is therefore limiting the potential for gene-flow, because of large-scale agricultural plantations, newly-developing prawn farms (in north Sabah), and commercial timber plantations. Because of the difficulties in regulating widespread illegal hunting of Banteng across the state, captive breeding using wild-caught individuals is probably the best method to conserve the remnant genetic diversity and increase numbers for future reintroduction.  

A large feral population of Banteng exists in the northern territories of Australia however this is thought to be derived from Bali cattle (Bradshaw et al. 2006). There is a captive population of Banteng held by various zoos including: Edinburgh Zoo (Scotland, U.K) (1 bull and 1 cow: Bos javanicus javanicus), (herd size and subspecies unknown), Chester Zoo (England, U.K), Saint Louis Zoo (Missouri, U.S.A), Montgomery Zoo (Alabama, U.S.A), Taronga Western Plains Zoo (New South Wales, Australia), Malacca Zoo (Peninsula Malaysia), and Lok Kawi Wildlife Park (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malayisa Borneo). There are no individuals of  Bos javanicus birmanicus held in captivity.

Citation: Gardner, P., Hedges, S., Pudyatmoko, S., Gray, T.N.E. & Timmins, R.J. 2016. Bos javanicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T2888A46362970. . Downloaded on 27 October 2016.
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