Cattle are domestic animals that have high economic value. The price is quite expensive and relatively easy to breed. Its existence is close to our lives.
A book that tells the origin of cows was written by Mario Melletti and James Burton under the title “Ecology, Evolution and Behavior of Wild Cattle: Implications for Conservation”. The book explains that there are 13 species that are members of the Bovini or Bovidaetribe, including cattle and bison, which are well-known to many people.
However, there are also very famous and charismatic species, such as the American bison [ Bison bison ], and also very little-known species that live in remote forest areas, such as the saola [ Pseudoryx nghetinhensis ] in Vietnam and Laos. Also, anoa species [ Bubalus depressions and Bubalus Charles] are endemic to the island of Sulawesi.
“At least, there are five species of wild livestock from the Bovini tribe which have been domesticated and have relations with humans since thousands of years ago. The domestication of this species provides enormous benefits to humans, namely for the needs of meat and milk, as well as as a locomotion animal,” said the author.
Abdul Haris Mustari, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Forest Conservation and Forest Resources, Faculty of Forestry, said that basically, all groups of cattle belong to the same genus as the bison. But before that, cows and also anoa, endemic to Sulawesi which is nicknamed the pygmy cow, belong to the same tribe, namely Bovini or Bovidae.
However, further evolution causes differences at the genus or clan level. At first, they had the same tribe or tribe, but after evolution the genus became different: if the genus cow is B os, then the genus anoa is Bubalus.
He explained again, in this evolutionary process, cows and water buffalo were ultimately more adaptive to open habitats and grasslands. This causes his body to become bigger and his behavior in groups.
Meanwhile, anoa live in forests and mountains and the topography is heavy and steep. It doesn’t stop there, anoa also live in tropical forests that have dense vegetation, forcing them to adapt by forming small groups. Many behave solitary and their bodies become smaller.
A year gone, Knickers, the cow’s name is back in the news. She was present at a fundraiser for The Blue Tree Project, a program to raise mental health awareness, in Western Australia.
Quoting ABC News, more than eight thousand people lined up and were willing to pay to take selfies with the Knickers. Nearly 25 thousand Australian dollars were collected in the charity event. The Knickers are still a magnet. Many people love this cow with a height of 194 centimeters and a weight of more than 1,400 kilograms.
Jacqueline Lynch, the reporter who reported on the Knickers for the first time, said that after going viral, many people were still skeptical. It could be, the photos circulating are edited. However, he assured me that the Knickers were really big cows.
Launching the az animals site, in the Western world the mention of cows is differentiated into steer for male cattle and cow for female cows. Knickers are steers who have been neutered. While a cow is a female cow that has had at least one calf. Young female cows are called heifers, while young bulls are called bullocks.
Knickers were also neutered at a young age. Before the age of four, beef cattle should be taken for meat. Except for the Knickers, who are so big they have a hard time getting into the chopping machine. When it went viral, the Knickers were seven years old.
The photo of Knickers surrounded by one-year-old black wagyu cows makes his body look even bigger. Knickers look big compared to wagyu cattle, which are no more than 140 centimeters.
Why is Anoa Called the Dwarf Buffalo?
Anoa is an endemic animal of Sulawesi. His nickname is unique, often called the Sulawesi pygmy cow or buffalo. There are two species of anoa that we all know, namely the lowland anoa [ Bubalus depressions] and the mountain anoa [ Bubalus Quarles].
Anoa is one of the typical fauna of Sulawesi whose life is not immune from threats. Starting from the disturbed habitat due to the conversion of forests into plantations, mining, or settlements, to the illegal hunting that still occurs.
The conservation status of lowland anoa and mountain anoa, based on the world conservation agency IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature], is Genting [ Endangered/EN ]. Domestically, based on Minister of Environment and Forestry Number P.106/2018, its status is a protected animal.
Why is Anoa called a dwarf buffalo?
The shape of anoa which resembles a buffalo makes it often referred to as a dwarf buffalo. IUCN  explains that currently there are five types of buffalo species that are still alive. First; the Asian water buffalo [ Bubalus Arnee ] which is spread in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, and Thailand. Second; tamaraw [ Bubalus mindorensis ] which is endemic to Mindoro Island, Philippines. Third; lowland anoa ( Bubalus depressions) endemic to Sulawesi. Fourth; mountain anoa [ Bubalus Quarlesi ] endemic to Sulawesi. Fifth; African buffalo ( Syncerus caffer ) is found in Africa.
A book entitled “ Ecology, Behavior, and Anoa Conservation” [December 2019], written by Abdul Haris Mustari, researcher and lecturer at the Department of Forest Resources Conservation, Faculty of Forestry, IPB, explains the ancestral origins of anoa. This book is said to be the first book to comprehensively discuss anoa.
According to Haris, the body weight of lowland anoa ranges from 80–100 kg and some even reach 120 kg. But this is rare. While the mountain anoa is around 60-80 kg. Asian water buffalo, and its two sub-species; Swamp and river buffaloes weigh 800–1000 kg. African buffalo body weight ranges from 500–1,000 kg.
“Based on the body weight of several types of buffalo, it is known that anoa is the smallest type of buffalo in the world. Because of its small size for the buffalo category, anoa is also called a dwarf buffalo or dwarf buffalo, “said Haris Mustari in his book.
In some literature, it is stated that the body weight of lowland anoa ranges from 150–300 kg. However, of all the anoa individuals whose weight was weighed, none reached 150 kg. This indicates that the body weight of anoa recorded in some previous literature may be too high.
Haris said the smaller anoa’s body size compared to other types of buffalo, both from the Bubalus genus and Sincerus genus and with their ancestors originating from mainland South Asia, probably follows the Island Rule/Foster Rule theory or commonly called Island Syndrome. Limited resources and the absence of large predators have resulted in the stunting of the body size of the large animals that live in island ecosystems.
Referring to some of the literature in the book, it is explained that the Island Rule/Foster Rule is a change in body size that occurs due to the transfer of species from the mainland to the island.
It was explained that one of the mechanisms that work on large and small animals is related to home ranges. On a small island, the home range of large animals will be limited, but not for small animals. In smaller home ranges, the supply and abundance of resources, especially food, water, and shelter, are limited.
One implication is that large animals evolved to become smaller on islands. While small animals when migrating to islands can increase access to resources if their bodies become bigger and there is no lack of competition.
Apart from being the smallest in body weight among the buffalo species, anoa is the most solitary and inhabits the densest habitat with dense vegetation cover, with a complex landscape structure. This habitat variation stretches from mangrove forest ecosystems, coastal forests, and lowland forests to lower-montane and upper-montane forest ecosystems.
Meanwhile, Asian water buffalo generally inhabit relatively open habitats in savanna and swamp ecosystems. Likewise the African buffalo, its habitat is grasslands and savanna, except for the Scannus subspecies, its habitat is forest. However, the vegetation is not as dense as tropical forests and the landscape is not as complex as the anoa habitat in Sulawesi.