African buffalo…. Black Death.

African buffalo, or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

The Buffalo is by far my favourite animal. Why? Their sheer strength, tenacity and fear of nothing appeals to me. They have the “Look”, that which makes you think this is as docile as a dairy cow. But is it? No way, this Buffalo is known for killing humans, its ability when wounded by a hunter, to circle back and attack, and its apparent fear of nothing. (TO SEE A YOUTUBE CLIP SHOWING THIS, CLICK HERE, QUITE FUNNY ACTUALLY)

Known within Africa as one of the “big five”, “The Black Death” or “widow maker”, the African buffalo is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as 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 hippos and crocodiles. (Wikipedia)

The Cape buffalo is susceptible to many diseases, including bovine tuberculosis, corridor disease, and foot and mouth disease. As with many diseases, these problems will remain dormant within a population as long as the health of the animals is good. Some wardens and game managers have managed to protect and breed “disease-free” herds which become very valuable because they can be transported. Most well-known are Lindsay Hunt’s efforts to source uninfected animals from the Kruger National Park. A beautiful video to watch of Lindsay Hunts efforts are shown in a youtube clip, (CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT)

There is nothing more majestic than the Bull Buffalo, and this one I encountered yesterday was a treat.. they say when you can see the red in his eyes, it’s too late… this guy never showed the red of his eye…

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A characteristic feature of them is the adult bull’s horns have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield referred to as a “boss’, which can not always be penetrated even by a rifle bullet.

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Its shoulder height can reach 1.7 m (5.6 ft.) and its head-and-body length 3.4 m (11 ft.). Compared with other large bovid, it has a long but stocky body (the body length can exceed the Wild water buffalo, which is rather heavier and taller) and short but thickset legs, resulting in a relatively short standing height. The tail can range from 70 to 110 cm (28 to 43 in) long. Savannah-type buffaloes weigh 500 to 900 kg (1,100 to 2,000 lb.), with males normally larger than females, reaching the upper weight range.

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Adult bulls will spar in play, dominance interactions or actual fights. A bull will approach another, lowing, with his horns down and wait for the other bull to do the same thing. When sparring, the bulls twist their horns from side to side. These battles are seldom of danger to the other but some look extremely vicious. (CLICK HERE TO SEE A BATTLE BETWEEN BULLS CAPTURED ON VIDEO). The skin in the neck area can reach a thickness of 50mm (2 inches).

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This is a real beauty…