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Oh My Gaur!

Gaur, Kabini

It’s a cow… it’s a battle-tank… it’s Supercow! It has powers other cows don’t, and is from a hidden world beginning with ‘K’. Presenting the world’s largest, strongest specimen of wild cattle, the superhero of Kabini, the ‘Gaur’! Clad in all black, with white stockings and a black dewlap-cape hanging between his forelegs, and a wicked pair of horns seeming almost an afterthought on his massive head, this is one mean dude you don’t want to mess with. Weighing in at a humungous 1000kg, and with the kind of musculature that’d make those hunks at the WWF look to alternate careers (babysitting and horticulture are the buzzwords, we’ve heard), this mean machine has the local bad boys looking fearfully over their tawny shoulders. While Gaurs have no natural enemies (who’d want to wrestle with 1000 kg of pure muscle and sinew?), nature isn’t responsible for the stupidity of those who don’t know better. There have been instances of macho predators being cut to size, with an incident of a tiger having been gored to death by a Gaur. It doesn’t always have to be physical though, and if the Gaur can avoid a battle through intimidation, he will. In Nagarahole, recently, a herd of Gaur walked as a menacing phalanx towards a stalking tiger, forcing him to turn tail. This lesson in intimidation is learnt and honed during face-offs between adult males vying for female attention; they rarely fight, but ritually strut their stuff, taking small, measured steps towards each other, whilst showing off their muscular development (we’ve always known it… size does matter… sigh!), till one or the other bends the knee. As a spectator at this Mr. Kabini contest, you may be tempted to whistle loudly, but our Gaur can whistle back, and be heard a mile away, to boot. Now, is that superhero stuff, or what?

Photograph: Kalyan Varma Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



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