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.
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
Social behavior and reproduction
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 while 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.
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.
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 Buffalo" (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
Genetic pollution and threat of extinction
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