Banteng cattle


In 1849, 20 Banteng cattle (also called Bali cattle or Bos javanicus) were brought to the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory from Bali in Indonesia. Banteng are smaller than beef cattle and have distinct white patches on their rump and lower legs. The European settlement on the Cobourg was abandoned shortly after the animals were imported, and the cattle were left to run wild. They survived as a feral population, unknown to scientists, until they were re-discovered in that isolated area in 1948.

Impact on environment

Much of the Peninsula is now Gurig National Park, jointly managed by its traditional owners and the NT Conservation Commission. Banteng are abundant in the Park, numbering in the thousands, and there is some evidence of their impact on native ecosystems through heavy grazing. However, they are a valued trophy animal for hunters and hence a source of income for the traditional owners.

Vulnerable species

Back in their original homeland of South-East Asia, Banteng cattle are now extremely rare, and the IUCN has listed the species as vulnerable to extinction throughout its range. The herd in Australia is the largest in the world. What is just another feral animal to us has become an important conservation resource for the rest of the planet. Australia may now have to take into account the endangered nature of the species when considering how to manage the population

To see a recent list of research findings click here .