On our way back from the Eravikulam National Park, we saw a massive black shape between the neat rows of tea bushes which line the slopes here. The bus driver stopped obligingly to let us figure out that the shape was not a rock but a lone bull Gaur. It had its head down and seemed to be rooting at the tea. I’d seen this before. Gaur move through the aisles in these plantations, and if they destroy tea, it is by accident. Their target is the smaller herbs and grasses that grow on the verge. There is something about tea that they don’t like. I’m happy that they leave the pekoes to us.
The genus Bos includes both the Gaur (Bos gaurus) and domestic cattle. It seems that their ancestors developed and migrated from Africa at the same time as humans. The single male that I saw is among the last of a species that diverged and evolved in the forests of India, and is now on the verge of extinction due to loss of habitat. What a sad end that would be to this marvelous and gentle giant!
I saw one of these in Bandipur national park. We were on our way to Wayanad and this fellow is standing there, by the road side, munching on something. They do look a bit ferocious. Did you get to see the mountain goat in Ervikulam? 😀
They look ferocious but are very gentle. They just move away when annoyed. A pack of wild dogs had just moved through Eravikulam, so there were no Tahr there that day.