|Auburn University Digital Library|
|Little Known Asian Animals With a Promising Economic Future|
source ref: b18ase.htm
|Part II : Wild Bovine Species|
In various parts of Southeast Asia there exist little-known relatives of cattle and water buffaloes. Many of these wild animals are close to extinction, and attention is drawn to them in hope their populations will be preserved. All of them survive in tropical regions subject to environmental extremes - flooding annual rains, searing droughts, and swarming pests and parasites. These are conditions to which conventional livestock are poorly adapted.
None of Africa's bovines is threatened with extinction, and both the European and American forms of bison are being preserved by governments and individuals. In Asia, however, there has been an alarming drop in the numbers of wild water buffalo, wild yak, wild banteng, kouprey, gaur, and tamaraw in recent years.
This section describes:
· Wild banteng
If not molested, many of these animals can thrive side by side with human settlements. They may therefore have an important future role in the development of the tropics.
There is little point in conservation for conservation's sake, but loss of irreplaceable resources through ignorance, greed, or thoughtlessness should be avoided. It may be that these Asian animals have little merit other than their uniqueness, but at the very least, sufficient numbers should be conserved until we have time to find out. A. J. SMITH Royal School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, Scotland
Rapid human increase and relative poverty deny hope that any land can lie idle when so many would be robbed of an opportunity simply to exist. For wildlife to survive, let alone at its breathtaking best, we must think of new and better ways to justify its future, preferably by having it contribute to the welfare of those hard-pressed humans who inevitably are further disadvantaged by the creation of national parks. DAVID WESTERN New York Zoological Society, Bronx, New York, USA
There is an urgency to conserve and study nontraditional animal species, especially for use in the environmentally challenging tropical areas of the world. The philosophy plant scientists apply to exploring the potential of the plant kingdom needs to be more enthusiastically adopted for the world's animal species. G. W. M. KIRBY, Principal Animal Production Officer Department of Primary Production Darwin, Australia