The water buffalo or domestic Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a large bovine animal, frequently used as livestock in the Indian Subcontinent, and also widely in South America, southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, and elsewhere. In 2000, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated there were approximately 158 million water buffalo in the world, with 97% of them (approximately 153 million animals) in Asia. There are established feral populations in northern Australia, but the dwindling true wild populations are thought to survive in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand. All the domestic varieties and breeds descend from one common ancestor, the wild water buffalo, which is now an endangered species. The domestic water buffalo, although derived from the wild water buffalo, is the product of thousands of years of selective breeding in either the Indian Subcontinent or Southeast Asia.
Contributions by Steve Dufour, Merbabu, and Benfranklinlover.