Bubalus quarlesimountain anoa

Geographic Range

Mountain anoa are found on the island Sulawesi, which is a province of Indonesia. Sulawesi contains 1,533,698 ha land, and is found between 0º30"and 4º3" North Latitude and 121º127" East Longitude. The mountain anoa occupies the mountainous areas of the island, with a range in elevation from 500 to 1000 m. Mountain anoa are also thought to occupy the nearby island of Buton. (Massicot, 2004; "North Sulawesi, adventures beyond dreams", 2001)


Mountain anoa are found in the undisturbed montane forest regions of Sulawesi. Since Sulawesi is based around the equator, it has both rainy and dry seasons. The rainy seasons last from November to March, and the dry seasons run from April to October. Sulawesi has both active and non-active volcanoes, which provides for very rich soil. This soil produces many agricultural crops: rice, corn, nutmeg, cocoanut, clove, vanilla, and vegetables. (Massicot, 2004; "North Sulawesi, adventures beyond dreams", 2001)

  • Range elevation
    500 to 1000 m
    1640.42 to 3280.84 ft
  • Average elevation
    500-1000 m

Physical Description

Mountain anoa look like deer, but are actually water buffalo. They weigh between 150 and 300 kg. Mountain anoas have a woolly coat that is a dark brown or black in color, but changes between February and April after they molt. After molting, the wooly underfur of the animal is shed, and light spots appear on the head, neck, and limbs. The head develops white spots on each side of the cheek, while the front side of the neck develops a crescent shaped light spot. Light spots also develop right above the hooves. The fur on the neck becomes shorter, while long hairs remain on the body. (Bartikova and Dobroruka, 1910; Massicot, 2004)

Mountain anoas also have horns. These horns are flat in the front, but become triangular from the mid-section to the ends. (Bartikova and Dobroruka, 1910)

  • Range mass
    150 to 300 kg
    330.40 to 660.79 lb


There is not enough information available on this topic. These animals appear to associate in male-female pairs, though, and so are probably monogamous. (Massicot, 2004)

Mating in mountain anoa occurs year round, with one offspring born to a female per year. Gestation is about 275 to 315 days. Although Bubalus quarlesi are usually solitary animals, they will form a herd when cows are about to give birth. Not a lot of information is known about this species, but a similar species, the lowland anoa (B. depressicornis), weans its offspring around 6 to 9 months. This species becomes sexually mature at two years. (Massicot, 2004; Miller, 2002)

  • Breeding interval
    Mountain anoa breed one time per year.
  • Breeding season
    These animals are not seasonal breeders.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 1
  • Range gestation period
    9.17 to 10.5 months
  • Range weaning age
    6 to 9 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    2 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    2 years

Mountain anoa form herds when a female is about to give birth. Most bovids are precocial, able to walk around after their mother shortly after birth, and the mountain anoa ia probably not an exception. As is the case for all mammals, the female provides her young with milk. She is also grooms and protects her young. Females in a similar species, lowland anoa, wean their offspring anywhere between 6 and 9 months. (Massicot, 2004)

The role of males in the parental care of this species has not been reported.

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • protecting
      • female


Little information is known about the lifespan of mountain anoa. The lowland anoa, however, lives to be 20 years in the wild, and 31 years in captivity. (Miller, 2002)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    29.2 years


Mountain anoa live in the moutainous areas of Sulawesi, and are thought to associate in pairs. At times, they will form herds, but only when a cow is about to give birth. Moutain anoa prefer undisturbed forests, and do not adapt well to human disturbance. (Massicot, 2004)

Home Range

The home range of these animals has not been reported.

Communication and Perception

There is not enough information on this topic. However, a few generalizations can be made based on the sort of animal mountain anoas are.

Because the species is diurnal, these animals probably have well developed vision. It is likely that they communicate in some ways with visual signals. Tactile communication is probably important, especially between mates and between a mother and her young. Scent cues are not unknown among bovids, and so there may be information transferred about individual identity through smell. These animals probably also make some vocalizations, although they have not been reported.

Food Habits

Bubalus quarlesi is herbivorous. These animals feed on plants that grow in undisturbed forests. Little information is available on what they eat, however, it is known that palms, ferns, ginger, grasses, and fruit grow in the areas in which they live. (Massicot, 2004; "North Sulawesi, adventures beyond dreams", 2001)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • fruit


The only animal known to prey upon mountain anoas is Homo sapiens, which hunts the speices for its hide, meat, and horns. (Massicot, 2004)

Ecosystem Roles

Not a lot of information is known about ecosystem roles of mountain anoas, since they have not been studied in depth. Their close relative, the lowland anoa, feed on forest understory growth, affecting plant communities. It is likely that mountain anoas are similar in this respect. (Massicot, 2004)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Natives to Sulawesi use mountain anoas for their hides, meat, and horns. Humans also benefit from the role mountain anoa play in keeping the forest understory under control. Mountain anoa are also important for ecotourism. (Massicot, 2004; "North Sulawesi, adventures beyond dreams", 2001)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • body parts are source of valuable material
  • ecotourism

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

The military tends to shoot these animals. The purpose for this is not known, but one hypothesis is that mountain anoas are a threat when the military is in the forest. Lowland anoas, a similar species, have been known to cause injury and death to keepers, if the zookeepers get too close to the young. Mountain anoas might also be dangerous in the wild. (Massicot, 2004)

  • Negative Impacts
  • injures humans

Conservation Status

The current population of mountain anoa is somewhere between 3000 and 5000 animals. The population has been in decline since the early 1900's, due to habitat loss, hunting, and shooting by the military. This species does not adapt well to humans, and as the island of Sulawesi becomes more populated, the decline in mountain anoa populations is inevitable. They are listed on Appendix I of CITES and listed as Endangered by IUCN. (Massicot, 2004)


Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Amy Schilz (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.



uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

sexual ornamentation

one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.


associates with others of its species; forms social groups.


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year


PATA North Sulawesi. 2001. "North Sulawesi, adventures beyond dreams" (On-line ). PATA. Accessed 11/25/02 at http://www.north-sulawesi.com/sul_info.html.

Bartikova, J., J. Dobroruka. 1910. Some external characteristics of the ountain anoa, Bublaus quarlesi. Lynx, 15: 58-62.

Heined, J. 1996. Status and protection of Asian wild cattle and buffalo. Conservation Biology, 10 (4): 931-934.

Massicot, P. 2004. "Animal Info-- Mountain Anoa" (On-line). Animal Information Pages. Accessed March 30, 2004 at http://www.animalinfo.org/species/artiperi/anoaquar.htm.

Miller, D. 2002. "Bublaus depressicornis" (On-line ). Animal Diversity Web. Accessed 11/25/2002 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/bubalus/b._depressicornis$narrative.html.