Water Buffalo Arrive In The Royal Anandapoor Forest

Disney's Animal Kingdom isn't your typical zoo - nor is it a typical theme park - instead it offers a melding of natural wonders in a pixie dusted environment of Disney magic. When new members of the animal kingdom move in to their habitats it's always an exciting time for both cast members and guests alike. The grassy plains habitat of Asia's Maharajah Jungle Trek have been home to blackbuck, Eld's deer, Sarus cranes, ruddy shelducks and bar-headed gees. This week they were joined by three new water buffalo.

Guests taking a stroll on the Maharajah Jungle Trek will find 2,000 ft of sunny trails beneath a lush canopy of swaying trees. The trail ventures across towering footbridges, and roams around jungle bends, in this former once been the hunting grounds for a wealthy maharajah. Cascading waterfalls and a centuries-old palace deep in the Royal Anandapoor Forest stand frozen in time.

According to the Disney Parks Blog new water buffalo Rose, Dorothy and Blanche (named by cast members) are enjoying the comfort of the grassy fields and brush. They have already formed a close knit bond and have each other's back - quite literally. They can often be seen laying in a triangle formation with their backs to each other so that the girls can see (would be) predators coming from any direction.

Photo courtesy of DisneyPhoto courtesy of Disney

The introduction of the water buffalo comes after some changes made to the Jungle Trek exhibit especially for them. Water buffalo prefer habitats of grasslands, forests that are dotted with lakes and rivers. In order to make these new friends as comfortable as possible, their habitat now includes a pool so that they can either sit or wallow in the water.

Scientists that at least 130 million domestic water buffalo exist, and more humans depend on them than on any other domestic animal for food and service. However pressure from over-hunting and interbreeding has resulted in an almost 50 percent decrease in their population over the past 10 years. Working hand in hand with man, water buffalo are well suited to tilling rice fields, and their rich milk (an important food source) is higher in both fat and protein than that of dairy cattle.

Photo courtesy of DisneyPhoto courtesy of Disney

Across Asia festivals are held annually which feature activities including this ancient and honorable animal. Rose, Dorothy and Blanche won't have have to worry about being used in sporting competition though, these girls are on a permanent Disney vacation.

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