Also known as the Cambodian Forest Ox, the kouprey (meaning “forest bull” in khmer) is onde of the most mysterious mammalsin the world. It was discovered in 1937 and since then has only been seen a handful of times. It’s a gray forest ox with frayed horns and a long dewlap hanging around its neck. The horns split when the animal is about 3 years old, and continue growing distinctly thereafter. This fraying is believed to be the result of their being used for diggingintothe ground or thrusting into tree stumps.
The kouprey inhabits low, rolling hills with patches of dry forests, located near denser monsoon forests, living in herds of up to 20, graising in open areas during the day and entering the forest on sunlight.
The kouprey’s range is centered in northern and eastern Cambodja, easter Thailand, southern Laos and western Vietnam. It has proven to be amasingly elusive. Much of what we know comes from Charles Wharton in the 1950s.
Prince Sihanouk designated it as the national animal of Cambodja in the 1960s. It may also prove to be one of the most genetically valuable animals on Earth, because of clues it may hold to disease resistance and general ability to survive in extremely harsh conditions.
Though the animal has not been seen since 1988 and having from 700 to 900 kilos maybe only about 100 to 300 survive today.