The water buffalo or domestic Asian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a large bovine animal, frequently used as livestock in southern Asia, and also widely in South America, southern Europe, north Africa, and elsewhere.
In 2000, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that there were approximately 158 million water buffalo in the world, and that 97% of them (approximately 153 million animals) were in Asia. There are established feral populations in northern Australia, but the dwindling true wild populations are thought to survive in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, 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 South Asia or Southeast Asia.