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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: December 2014

Chapter 18 - Tamaraw Bubalus mindorensis Heude, 1888

from Part III - Species accounts



Genus: Bubalus C. H. Smith, 1827

Species: Tamaraw Bubalus mindorensis Heude, 1888

Names in other languages: French: Tamarau, Tamarao; German: Mindoro-Büffel; Spanish: Tamarao, Búfalo de Mindoro; Italian: Tamaraw

Other common names: Mindoro dwarf buffalo.


Bubalus mindorensis Heude (1888), type specimen Mindoro Island, Philippines. Despite early debates on its proper taxonomic classification (Everett 1878; Meyer 1878; Bartlett 1878), the tamaraw is classified as a distinct species within the genus Bubalus based on morphological characteristics (Groves 1969; Custodio et al. 1996; Braun et al. 2002; Wilson & Reeder 2005) and genetic analyses (Namikawa et al. 1995; Tanaka et al. 1996, 2000). Steere (1888a) also independently described the tamaraw, placing it in the genus Anoa, but was superseded by Heude (1888). Heude’s type specimen was lost and then rediscovered (Braun et al. 2002) in Xujiahui, China, in the Shanghai Natural History Museum, which acquired the museum Heude founded (Zikawei Museum of Natural History).

Subspecies and distribution

The tamaraw is endemic to the island of Mindoro, Philippines (Plate 9; Heaney et al. 1987; Custodio et al. 1996). Thought to be previously widely distributed in Mindoro (Everett 1878; Steere 1888b, 1891), by 1949 there appears to have been fewer than 1000 animals left on the island, with an estimated 244 in Occidental Mindoro (Manuel 1957) in at least three areas (Harrisson 1969a). By 2007 the three areas where tamaraw are now thought to remain are in Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park (MIBNP), the Mount Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary and the Aruyan-Malati area (R. M. Boyles, unpublished; J. de Leon, unpublished).

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