As you make your way around the peaceful island of Bali, you will come across a herd of banteng; a wild forest-dwelling member of the cattle family. You may never have heard of this species before your journey through Islands, but they’re a precious species and are quite shy animals.
Spend some time observing their behaviour - you’ll spot they’re social animals, gathering together in pairs or groups. There is usually only one male banteng in any herd which can sometimes lead to rivalry amongst the females.
This rare and magnificent species is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as, sadly, its numbers have declined dramatically over the last 50 years due to habitat loss and hunting.
So, the birth of a banteng calf on Islands earlier this year was great news as it has provided a boost to the conservation of this endangered animal. These amazing animals are at risk from extinction; it’s believed that there are less than 5,000 left in the wild.
Banteng calf born in Islands at Chester Zoo
They’re now rarely spotted in the wild and are facing a real battle for their survival as forests are being destroyed across South East Asia to make way for oil palm plantations. On top of this they’re also affected by illegal wildlife trade as they’re hunted for their horns. Learn more about illegal wildlife trade, how it’s impacting many of the world’s most iconic species by heading over to our Act for Wildlife website, here.
We are working with other zoos around the globe, international conservationists and the Indonesian government to support banteng conservation in South East Asia. This is the first time the global zoo community has joined forces with the Indonesian government to share expertise and resources for the conservation of banteng, anoa and babirusa (two other species you’ll be able to see on your expedition through Islands).