What is a buffalo?

A buffalo is a large wild cloven-hooved ruminating herbivore that are relatives of the domestic bovine. There are several species of buffalo:


(Asian) water buffalo (Bubalos bubalis) - a member of, or relative of, the genus Bos (cattle), either wild or domesticated, and widely farmed as meat, dairy and draught cattle. A specific type of water buffalo is also called Carabao.

(Asian) wild water buffalo (Bubalos amee) - the ancestor of the domestic water buffalo.

African buffalo, or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) - a distant relative of the water buffalo, a large wild bovine plentiful in Africa and a very hardy animal. It is not considered possible to domesticate the African buffalo.

The following two are often termed "buffalo", but are not true buffalo species:

American bison (Bison bison) - a wild bovine found in North America in two subspecies, Bison bison bison and Bison bison athabascae, not usually domesticated, although they can be tamed to some extent and certainly can crossbreed with domestic cattle.

European bison or Wisent, pronounced Vi-zunt, (Bison bonasus) - of Asian origin, and smaller than the American bison, it is the heaviest native land animal in Europe. Herds roam forests in some Eastern European countries, reintroduced from captive animals, since the animal was rendered extinct in the wild due to over-hunting; the last wild (prior to reintroduction) Wisent was killed in 1927.se