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All Things Buffalo.
Information and pictures on Buffalo.
Educational, Zoological, and Classification info.

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Index

For the American Buffalo or Bison click here.
Wild Asian Water Buffalo below.

The African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a bovid from the family of the Bovidae. It is up to 1.7 meters high, 2.8 meters long. On average, an adult male stands about 1.5 m high at the shoulder and weighs 600-750 kg, while a female is 10-15 cm shorter and weighs between 400 and 550 kg. Bulls at ten years of age or older can reach or exceed 900 kg. The African Buffalo is not closely related to the slightly larger Wild Asian Water Buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear. Owing to its unpredictable nature which makes it highly dangerous to humans, it has not been domesticated like its Asian counterpart, the Domestic Asian Water Buffalo.

Overview
The Cape Buffalo is a very powerful creature, demanding respect from even a pride of lions when paths cross. Other than humans, they have few naturalBuffalo predators and are capable of defending themselves against (and sometimes killing) lions. Lions do kill and eat buffalo regularly, but it typically takes multiple lions to bring down a single adult buffalo; only large male lions have been known to take down adult buffalo on their own. The leopard and spotted hyena are a threat only to newborn calves. The African Buffalo has never been domesticated.

Known as one of the "big five" in Africa, the African Buffalo is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills several people every year. Buffalo are sometimes reported to kill more people in Africa than any other animal, although the same claim is sometimes made of Hippopotami or Crocodiles. Buffalo are notorious among big game hunters as very dangerous animals, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.

Range and habitat
Cape Buffalo occur from open savannah to thickly wooded country, and wallow Buffalo when the opportunity presents itself. They are found in Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzanian.

Social behavior and reproduction
The main herd consists of females and their offspring. Males will form bachelor groups with dominance hierarchies. Old males normally live alone. A male is recognizable by the thickness of his horns, and is called the "Boss." During the mating season the bachelor groups stay with the herd and fight among each other for females.

Cows first calve at five years of age, after a gestation period of 11.5 months. Newly born calves remain hidden in vegetation for the first few weeks whileBuffalo being nursed occasionally by the mother before joining the main herd. Calves are held in the centre of the herd for safety. Males leave their mothers when they are two years old and join the bachelor groups.

Status
The current status of African cape buffalo is dependant on the existence of the animals value to both trophy hunters and tourist paying the wave for conservation efforts through anti-poaching patrols, village crop damage payouts, and CAMPFIRE payback programs to local areas.

The current total number of cape buffalo is spread throughout non-desert southern Africa from the Egypt in the North to South Africa in the South. The cape buffalo are estimated to number around a million, but quality counts are not possible with the lack of research funding in places like Sudan, Chad, Zaire, and Benin. Most professional hunters, safari outfitters, and wildlife professionals believe the number to be only representing the actual Cape subspecies, and not counting the Nile, North-East, or Forest buffalo.

African Buffalo

Buffalo

Scientific classification
Kingdom:

Animalia

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order:

Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Syncerus
Hodgson, 1847

Binomial name

Syncerus caffer
(Sparrman, 1779)

Subspecies

S. c. caffer
S. c. nanus
S. c. brachyceros
S. c. mathewsi'

Wild Asian Water Buffalo

True Wild Asian Water Buffalo or Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo is an endangered species, it is thought to survive in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand. It is a large ungulate and a member of the bovine subfamily and the ancestor of all the abundant Domestic Asian Water buffalo varieties and breeds which have descended from it.

The IUCN Red List of threatened species classifies "Wild Asian Water BuffaloBuffalo" (B. arnee) as an Endangered species. The total number of wild Asian Buffalo left is thought to be less than 4,000, which suggests that the number of mature individuals will be less than 2,500, and an estimated continuing decline of at least 20 per cent within 14 years (ca. two generations) and at least 50 percent within 21 years seems likely given the severity of the threats, especially hybridization with the abundant domestic water buffalo leading to Genetic Pollution.

The slightly smaller African Buffalo is not closely related to the Wild Asian Water buffalo and its ancestry remains unclear. Owing to African Buffalo’s unpredictable nature which makes them highly dangerous to humans, and not having been domesticated like their Asian counterpart, Domestic Asian Water Buffalo is the product of thousands of years of selective breeding carried out by highly evolved ancient Asian civilizations, specially in India.

Taxonomic Notes: Bubalus arnee
The name Bubalus bubalis was originally applied to Domestic Asian Water buffalo, but some authorities do not consider this valid for the wild population and use the specific name arnee instead. Grubb (in Wilson & Reeder 1993) mentions that bubalis is the senior synonym.

Genetic pollution and threat of extinction
Wild Asian Water Buffalo are threatened by genetic pollution when they come into contact with common abundant Domestic Asian Water Buffalo which live in and around forests. The domesticated animals daily graze within forests which have been designated as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks for their wild ancestors.

Modern uses
Wildlife and conservation scientists have started to recommend and use introduced populations of feral Domestic Asian Water buffalos in far away lands to manage uncontrolled vegetation growth in and around natural wetlands. Introduced Asian Water Buffalo at home in such environs provide cheap service by regularly grazing the uncontrolled vegetation and opening up clogged water bodies for waterfowl, wetland birds and other wildlife.

 

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