African Buffalo

The African Buffalo or Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a bovid from the family of the Bovidae. It is up to 5.6 ft (1.7 meters) high, 9.8 ft (3 meters) long, and can reach a weight of 1.1 tons (1000 kilograms). On average, an adult male stands about 5 ft (1.5 m) high at the shoulder and weighs 1,500lbs (680 kg), while a female is .3-.5 ft (10 – 15 cm) shorter and weighs between 1,100-1,300 pounds 500 – 600 kg.

The Cape Buffalo is not closely related to the Asian Water Buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear. It is a very powerful creature, demanding respect from even a pride of lions when paths cross. Other than humans, they have few natural predators and are capable of defending themselves against (and sometimes killing) lions. Lions do kill and eat buffalo occasionally, but it typically takes multiple lions to bring down a single adult buffalo; fewer when it is injured or very old. The leopard and spotted hyena are a threat only to newborn calves. Crossbreeding with domestic cattle has had only limited success, and the African Buffalo remains a wild animal.

Known as one of the “big five” in Africa, the Cape Buffalo can be a volatile and formidable beast, goring, trampling and killing several people a year. It is reputedly the most dangerous game animal, with the possible exception of the hippopotamus.

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