Scientific name: Bos gaurus frontalis
Other common names: Gyall; Mithun; Mithan; Adavi Dunna; Katu Maadu; Kattu Pothu; Kaati; Tadok
The Gayal, also known as Mithun, is the domesticated Gaur (Bos gaurus), and considered a separate species because they are identified as a hybrid of the gaur and domestic cattle. The gaur and the gayal are native to the South Asian and Southeast Asian region, with the largest population in India. The gaur, the largest species of wild cattle, and bigger than the American Buffalo and the Asian Water Buffalo, is also called Seladang or Indian Bison. It is the state animal of the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India.
Appearance / health:
The Gayal takes most of its characteristics from its wild ancestors including the big size, the long and large horns (on both sexes), the ridge on the forehead between the horns, as well as the large ears, long tail, and white lower legs. The hooves are narrow and pointed. The body is muscular and powerful. The typical body color is dark brown to black. The average body length is 10 ft.; the average height is 6.5 ft. The hair is short, fine, and glossy.
Behavior / temperament:
Gayal are known to be shy and would hide among dense foliage to evade humans and predators. They often feed or forage at night when humans are not around. They may be difficult to approach and tame, but over the years, many of them have been domesticated as working animals.
Housing / diet:
Gayal are often allowed to roam in the wild or stay outdoors. They hide among dense forests and bamboo groves for safety and shelter from harsh climates.
Gaur and Gayal feed on leaves, shoots, fruits, bamboo, grass, and soft branches of shrubs and plants.