Mammals of Cambodia
Cambodia is home to a diverse array of wildlife. There are 212 mammal species, 536 bird species, 176 reptile species (including 89 subspecies), 850 freshwater fish species (Tonlé Sap Lake area), and 435 marine fish species. Many of the country’s species are recognized by the IUCN or World Conservation Union as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Intensive poaching may have already driven Cambodia’s national animal, the Kouprey, to extinction, and wild tigers, Eld’s deer, wild water buffaloes and hog deer are at critically low numbers.
Wildlife in Cambodia includes dholes, elephants, deer (sambar, Eld’s deer, hog deer and muntjac), wild oxen (banteng and gaur), panthers, bears, and tigers. Cormorants, cranes, ibises, parrots, green peafowl, pheasants, and wild ducks are also found, and poisonous snakes are numerous.
Cambodia has 16 globally endangered species and two critically endangered species. Some of Cambodia’s endangered species are the Asian elephant, Siamese crocodile, wild water buffalo, and the Germain’s silver langur. In this issue we take a look at some of the more interesting mammals of Cambodia.
A kouprey also known as kouproh, “grey ox”, is a wild, forest-dwelling bovine species found mainly in northern Cambodia, but also believed to exist in southern Laos, western Vietnam, and eastern Thailand. It was only in 1937 the kouprey became known to zoologists.
A very large ungulate, the Kouprey can approach similar sizes to the wild Asian water buffalo. These bovids measure 2.1 to 2.3 m (6.9 to 7.5 ft) along the head and body, and stand 1.7–1.9 m (5.6–6.2 ft) high at the shoulder. Their weight is reportedly from 680 to 910 kg (1,500 to 2,010 lb).
Kouprey have tall, but narrow, bodies, long legs and humped backs. They can be either grey, dark brown or black. The horns of the female are lyreshaped with antelope-like upward spirals. The horns of the male are wide and arch forward and upward, and they begin to fray at the tips at about three years of age. Both sexes have notched nostrils and long tails.
Kouprey graze on grasses, including bamboo. They also spend a lot of their time around salt licks and water holes.
There are estimated to be fewer than 250 kouprey left in the world.
The Asian golden cat, also called the Asiatic golden cat and Temminck’s cat, is a medium-sized wild cat of SE Asia.
The Asian golden cat is heavily built, with a typical cat-like appearance. It has a head-body length of 66 to 105 cm (26 to 41 in), with a tail 40 to 57 cm (16 to 22 in) long, and is 56 cm (22 in) tall at the shoulder. The weight ranges from 9 to 16 kg (20 to 35 lb), which is about two or three times that of a domestic cat.
Asian golden cats are territorial, solitary, and are primarily nocturnal. In a study, the male’s territory was 47.7 km2 (18.4 sq mi) in size and increased by more than 15% during the rainy season. The female’s territory was 32.6 square kilometres (12.6 sq mi) in size.
Asian golden cats can climb trees when necessary. They hunt birds, hares, rodents and reptiles, small ungulates such as muntjacs and young sambar deer. They are capable of bringing down prey much larger than themselves, such as domestic water buffalo calves.
The Asian or Asiatic elephant is distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Asian elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.
Since 1986, they have been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. Asian elephants are primarily threatened by degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitat, and poaching. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.
In general, the Asian elephant is smaller than the African elephant and has the highest body point on the head. The back is convex or level. The ears are smaller than the African elephant. It has up to
20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae. The feet have more nail-like structures than those of African elephants—five on each forefoot, and four on each hind foot.
As is common with large animals, the dimensions of the Asian elephant are often exaggerated. On average, the shoulder height of males rarely exceeds 2.7 m (9 ft) and that of the females, 2.4 m (8 ft). Average height of females is 2.24 m (7.3 ft), and average weight 2.72 t (3.00 short tons) rarely exceeding 4.16 t (4.59 short tons). Large bulls weigh up to 5.4 t (6.0 short tons) and are 3.2 m (10 ft) at the shoulder. Length of body and head including trunk is 5.5–6.5 m (18–21 ft) with the tail being 1.2–1.5 m (3.9–4.9 ft) long.
The largest bull elephant ever recorded was found in India in 1924. It weighed 8 tonnes (8.8 short tons), stood 3.35 m (11 ft) tall at the shoulders and was 8.06 m (26.4 ft) long from head to tail. There have been reports of much larger individuals as tall as 3.7 m (12 ft).
Three subspecies are recognized:
The Sri Lankan elephant occurs in Sri Lanka.
The Indian elephant occurs in mainland Asia: Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malay Peninsula, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam.
The Sumatran elephant occurs only in Sumatra.
They consume up to 150 kg (330 lb) of plant matter per day. They are generalist feeders, and both grazers and browsers. They browse more in the dry season with bark constituting a major part of their diet in the cool part of that season. They need 80–200 litres of water a day and use even more for bathing. At times, they scrape the soil for clay or necessary minerals.
The red-shanked douc is a species of Old World monkey, among the most colourful of all primates. This monkey is sometimes called the “costumed ape” for its extravagant appearance. From its knees to its ankles it sports maroon-red “stockings”, and it appears to wear white forearm length gloves. Its attire is finished with black hands and feet. The golden face is framed
by a white ruff, which is considerably fluffier in males. The eyelids are a soft powder blue. The tail is white with a triangle of white hair at the base. Males of all ages have a white spot on both sides of the corners of the rump patch, and red and white genitals.
The word “douc” (pronounced ‘dook’) is a Vietnamese word meaning “monkey”. The douc is an arboreal and diurnal monkey that eats and sleeps in the trees of the forest.
Like other doucs, the red-shanked douc is a long, slender monkey. The male has an average head and body length of 61 cm (24 in), and the female averages 54.5 cm (21.5 in) long, with a tail that measures 55.8–76.2 cm (22.0–30.0 in) long. Males weigh on average 11 kg (24 lb), and females 8.44 kilograms (18.6 lb). There is a slight difference in rump markings between genders: the male has round white spots above the triangle of white on its rump, while the female does not.
All doucs are native to Southeast Asia, specifically Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam. The hog badger is a terrestrial mustelid (think badgers, weasels, ferrets, and wolverines), that is widespread in Central and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as its occurrence is patchy.
It has medium-length brown hair, stocky body, white throat, two black stripes on an elongated white face and a pink, pig-like snout. The headand-body length is 55–70 cm (22–28 in), the tail measures 12–17 cm (4.7–6.7 in) and the body weight is 7–14 kg (15–31 lb).
Its appearance generally resembles the European badger, but it is generally smaller, with larger claws on the front feet. Its tail has long white hairs, and its front feet have white claws.
Eld’s deer, also known as the thamin or brow-antlered deer, is an endangered species of deer indigenous to Southeast Asia.
The following measurements have been reported
Head–body length: 150–180 cm (59–71 in) Shoulder height: 110–125 cm (43–49 in) Tail length: 20–30 cm (8–12 in) Weight: 125–175 kg (276–386 lb) Antler length: 99 cm (39 in)
The deer are generally of medium size and are similar to the size and shape of the barasingha. The species has a very regal and graceful Cervus physique. Its legs are thin and long, and has a long body with a large head on a thin neck. The throat of a male has a thick mane of long hair. Males (stags) are taller and heavier than the females (hinds or does). Their coats, rough and coarse, change colour with the season; in summer the colour is reddish-brown, while in winter, it turns dark brown, with males tending to be darker than the females. The tail is short in length and the rump has no distinct patch.
Despite these features, they are actually related to the Père David’s deer.the antlers, bow- or lyreshaped, do not grow upwards, but tend to grow outwards and then inwards; a smaller branch grows towards the front of the head. The brow tines are especially long and noticeable. The brow-antlered deer is so named because they have long brow tines. On schedule they shed their antlers every year, with the largest size attained during the breeding season.
Adult Asian Elephant with calf
The majestic Kouprey
Juvenile Asian Elephants
Asian Golden Cat