27 February 2013

Cambodia's National Mammal: The Kouprey (Reprised)

The Kouprey is Cambodia’s National Mammal.

 But it’s unlikely that you have ever seen one. Or that you ever will. That’s because they are categorized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a ‘critically endangered species, possibly extinct.*’

This wild ox, should it still exist, would likely be found in Cambodia’s most northern forests and, now improbably, in southern Laos, the west of Vietnam and in Thailand’s eastern provinces.

The ox measures in at a length of between 210 and 225 cm with a shoulder height of 170-190 cm. It weighs somewhere between 680 and 910 kg and it's distinguished by a set of fine horns (up to 80cm for the male and 40 cm for the female) and a mighty dewlap. (That’s the loose skin hanging from the throat)

Kouprey means ‘Forest bull’ in Khmer and it was designated Cambodia’s National Mammal by Prince Sihanouk in the 1960’s.

The last sighting of this fine beast was in 1988, thus it seems improbable that the Kouprey continues to survive. 

* This rather odd classification is because extensive surveys are carried out before a species is named as extinct.

See also: Cambodia's National Flower

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