The buffalo is ubiquitous in Asia including north Australia where it is an introduced species. In the heydays before widespread mechanization, it used to be man's best friend - as draught animal in the rice field, barter trading, gifts/ dowry, penalty payment, bull fights, fun rides, notwithstanding, of course its meat and hide. It becomes so entwined in the culture of many societies.
It has given rise to the name Minangkabau. In their N. Sembilan heartland there used to be large acreage of 'padang kerbau' at jungle fringes gazetted as grazing commons for buffaloes. Post-independence, we fail to extend this concept in a systematic manner.
In Perak, herds of buffaloes still roam used the tin mine areas. They were my arch and costly enemy some years ago because they broke into my nature farm destroying new plantings. What made it worst was that the herders cut the barb wire fencing every time to let their buffaloes in. I had given up with the farm and start somewhere else as mentioned in an early post.
The famous Chinese philosopher, Lao Tze sitting on a buffalo playing his flute!
The seladang which resembles the buffalo are not known to interbreed with the latter. However, the former has been crossed with cow to produce selembu, a hybrid which is unfortunately sterile.
The days of the buffaloes are numbered. What a pity. Being hardy, they are adapted for swampy and low lying areas that are otherwise underutilised. Our animal husbandry has failed to commercialise the buffalo for protein supply.