African Buffaloes

African Buffaloes

The African buffalo or Cape buffaloes are a large Sub-African bovineSyncerus caffer, the Cape buffaloes, are the typical subspecies, and the largest one, found in Southern and East Africa. nanus is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while are in West Africa and. equinoctials are in the savannah of East Africa. The adult African Buffaloes horns are its characteristic feature: they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a “boss”. They are widely regarded as among the most dangerous animals on the African continent, and according to some estimates they gore, trample, and kill over 250 people every year.

The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Its unpredictable temperament means that the African buffaloes have never been domesticated unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffaloes African Buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles as a member of the big five games the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting.

How would one describe African Buffaloes?

The African buffalo is a very robust species. Its shoulder height can range from 1.0 to 1.7 m (3.3 to 5.6 ft) and its head-and-body length can range from 1.7 to 3.4 m (5.6 to 11.2 ft). Compared with other large bovids, it has a long but stocky body (the body length can exceed the wild water buffaloes which is heavier and taller) and short but thickset legs, resulting in relatively short standing height. The tail can range from 70 to 110 cm (28 to 43 in) long. Savannah type buffaloes weigh 500 to 1,000 kg (1,100 to 2,200 lb.), with males normally larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. In comparison, forest-type buffaloes at 250 to 450 kg (600 to 1,000 lb.), are only half that size. Its head is carried low; its top is located below the backline. The front hooves of the buffalo are wider than the rear, which is associated with the need to support the weight of the front part of the body, which is heavier and more powerful than the back.

Savannah-type buffaloes have black or dark brown coats with age. Old bulls often have whitish circles around their eyes and on their faces. Females tend to have more-reddish coats. Forest-type buffaloes are 30-40% smaller, reddish-brown in color, with much more hair growth around the ears and with horns that curve back and slightly up. Calves of both types have red coats.

A characteristic feature of the horns of adult male African buffalo (Southern and Eastern populations) is that the bases come very close together, forming a shield referred to as a “boss”. From the base, the horns diverge downwards, then smoothly curve upwards and outwards and in some cases inwards and or backward. In large bulls, the distance between the ends of the horns can reach upwards of one meter (the record being 64.5 inches 164 cm). The horns form fully when the animal reaches the age of five or six years but the bosses do not become “hard” till 8 to 9 years old. In cows, the horns are, on average, 10–20% smaller, and they do not have a boss. Forest buffalo horns are smaller than those of the savanna buffalo from Southern and Eastern Africa, usually measuring less than 40 centimeters (16 in), and are almost never fused.

Cape buffalo Subspecies – facts about African Buffaloes

Synceruscaffercaffer (Cape buffalo) is the nominate subspecies and the largest one, with large males weighing up to 910 kg (2,010 lb.). The average weight of bulls from South Africa was 753 kg (1,660 lb.). In Serengeti National Park eight bulls averaged similarly 751 kg (1,656 lb.). Mature cows from Kruger national park averaged 513 kg (1,131 lb.). In both Kenya and Botswana, the average adult weight of this race was estimated at 631 kg (1,391 lb). It is peculiar to Southern and East Africa. Buffaloes of this subspecies living in the south of the continent, notably tall in size and ferocity, is the so-called Cape buffalo. The color of this subspecies is the darkest, almost black.

African forest buffaloes dwarf buffalo or Congo buffalo) is the smallest of the subspecies; the height at the withers is less than 120 cm and the average weight is about 270 kg (600 lb.), or about the size of a Zebra and two to three times lighter in mass than the nominate subspecies. The color is red, with darker patches on the head and shoulders, and in the ears, forming a brush. The dwarf buffalo is common in forest areas of Central and West Africa. This subspecies is so different from the nominate subspecies that some researchers still consider it to be a separate species, S. nanus. Hybrids between the nominate and dwarf subspecies are not uncommon.

Sudanese buffaloes are, in morphological terms, intermediate between the first two subspecies. It occurs in West Africa. Its dimensions are relatively small, especially compared to other buffalo found in Cameroon, which weighs half as much as the Cape subspecies (bulls weighing 600 kg (1,300 lb.) are considered to be very large). Adults average in weight up to 400 kg (880 lb.).

Nile buffaloes are confined to the savannas of Central Africa. It is similar to the Cape buffalo but somewhat smaller, and its color is lighter. This subspecies is sometimes considered to be the same as the Sudanese buffalo.

Mountain buffalo or Virunga buffalo is not universally recognized by all authorities. It lives in mountainous areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.

African buffaloes Diseases

The Cape buffalo is susceptible to many diseases, including bovine tuberculosis, East Coast fever corridor disease, and foot and mouth disease. As with many diseases, these problems remain dormant within a population as long as the health of the animals is good. These diseases do, however, restrict the legal movements of the animals and fencing infected areas from unaffected areas is enforced. Some wardens and game managers have managed to protect and breed “disease-free” herds which become very valuable because they can be transported.

Buffaloe’s strength versus human

One of the Big five game   African game, it is known as “the Black Death” or “windowmaker”, and is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal. According to some estimates, which it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Buffaloes are sometimes reported to kill more

people in Africa than any other animal, although the same claim is also made of Hippopotamus hippos and crocodile The Cape buffaloes These numbers may be somewhat overestimated, for example in the country of Mozambique attacks, especially fatal ones, were much less frequent on humans than those by hippopotamuses and, especially, Nile crocodiles’ ‘Human-wildlife conflict in Mozambique: a national perspective, with emphasis on wildlife attacks on humans”. Oryx,

In Uganda, on the other hand, large herbivores were found to attack more people on average than lions or leopards and have a higher rate of inflicting fatalities during attacks than the predators (the buffalo, in particular, killing humans in 49.5% of attacks on them), but hippos and even elephants may still kill more people per annum here than buffaloes

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