The Cryptid Zoo: Kouprey (or Cambodian Wild Ox)

Folklore from Northern Cambodia describes a large wild ox that natives insist is different from the two other species of wild bovines known to live in the area, the gaur and the banteng. For a long time scientists ridiculed these stories. Without even investigating the kouprey directly, scientists said they had the answer to the riddle. The kouprey was nothing more than a hybrid cross between the gaur and the banteng. This was the official stance for nearly thirty years.

Finally, scientists decided to actually investigate the problem instead of making opinion-based pronouncements from their offices half a world away. The kouprey was not a hybrid. It was a new species, and it was so different from all other wild oxen that it was proposed that it should occupy a genus all its own, Novibos. Its status as a species became official in 1961.

Today, the kouprey is still almost as elusive as a mythical animal. Scientists have only rarely been able to observe it in the wild, usually from a distance. Despite their status as an official species, koupreys have had more adventures in the field of cryptozoology since then. The Thailand koupreys, believed extinct for over twenty years, were rediscovered. Then, in 1994, scientists began paying attention to lore about a possible second species of kouprey, a smaller version.

You can find out more about the Kouprey from the following sources:

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 128, 214

Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003. Page 186

MacKinnon, John R., Quy, Vo & Stuart, by Simon N. The Kouprey: An Action Plan for Its Conservation.
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Massicot, Paul. Animal Info - Kouprey

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 6, 260

Weidensaul, Scott. The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species. New York: North Point Press, 2002. Page 181

Wikipedia, The. Kouprey

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The text on this page is copyright 2006 by Jamie Hall. Please use proper citation if you are using this website for research.