They live a skittish, nocturnal life in inaccessible habitats consisting of open deciduous forests, grasslands, wooded grasslands and patches of closed monsoon forest. Most live in areas receiving 100-200 cm (40-80 in) of precipitation per year and there are indications that they move to higher elevations during the rainy season. They typically graze in open areas during the day, entering the forest for shelter from the sun, refuge from predators, and to seek food when the grasslands are dry. Like other wild cattle species, they are primarily grazers but will browse as well.
The kouprey was only identified in 1937, but there has been no scientific sighting since 1957. Unconfirmed reports from traders and occasional tracks give hope that it may yet be extant. It is listed as critically endangered by IUCN.