Zula Buffaloes in Uganda National parks

Buffaloes are social animals and live in groups called herds, Water buffalo herds are segregated by gender.Young males stay with the maternal herd for about three years, and then they join a male herd. Maternal herds have up to 30 females and their offspring. Male herds have up to 10 members.

African buffalo herds are mostly of mixed gender. They do have a few all-male herds, but these usually consist of old males. An African herd often has more than 1,000 members.

African buffalo is the only species of wild cattle that can be found in Africa. It is also known as Cape buffalo, forest buffalo and savanna buffalo. African buffalo inhabits sub-Saharan parts of Africa.

There are four subspecies of African buffalo that differs in color, size and type of habitat where they can be found. African buffalo lives in open woodlands, savannas, forests,

and lowland rainforests. Since African buffalo depends on water, it requires habitats that receive at least 10 inches of rain per year. African buffalo is sensitive to habitat loss, hunt and diseases (induced by rinderpest virus), but it is not endangered

DIET

Buffalo are herbivores, and so eat only vegetation. Their favorite foods are grass and herbs, but water buffalo will also eat aquatic plants. Both African and Asian buffalo will eat shrubs and trees when they can’t find grass or herbs to eat.

OFFSPRING

Buffalo, like most mammals, bear live young, which are called calves. Usually, they have one calf at a time, and the female will carry the calf for a gestation period of 9 to 11 months before giving birth. Once the calf is born, a water buffalo will stay with its mother for around three years. Then, male calves will be moved to the all-male herd, while the female calves stay with the female herd. Females become pregnant every other year.

Water buffalo tend to live around 25 years, according to the University of Michigan, while African buffalo live around 26 years.

 

 INTERESTING AFRICAN BUFFALO FACTS:

African buffalo is large animal that can reach 6.8 to 11 feet in length, 3.2 to 5.6 feet in height and weight between 660 and 1900 pounds.

African buffalo has large head, broad chest and strong legs. It is four times stronger than ox.

Body of African buffalo is covered with hair that can be brownish to black in color.

Horns of African buffalo are shaped like question marks. Males have longer and thicker horns.

African buffalo is a grazer. It feed mainly on the grass. When the grass sources are scarce, it may eat shrubs and trees.

African buffalos live in large herds that sometimes include thousand animals. Usually, herds are smaller, with up to 12 animals on average.

Herds usually consist of females, their offspring and one or more males. Males that are not part of the herd can form bachelor herds, or live a solitary life.

Solitary animals are easy target of lions, which are their natural enemies.

Life in herd ensures certain advantages. Animals are well informed about the best feeding areas and sources of water. Besides that, they are protected against the predators.

What buffaloes do when faced with predators.

When faced with predators, animals of the herd form a circle around the young, old or weak animals, exposing their large and sharp horns toward the predators. This barrier is very effective and prevents predators to reach the animals that are not strong enough to fight.

African buffalo is well known for its exceptional memory. It will recognize a person (such as hunters) that hurt it in the past and it will attack it at their next encounter. Same is with lions. They will “preventively” kill cubs of lions that are known attackers of the herd.

African buffalo has poor eyesight and sense of hearing, but their sense of smell is excellent.

Mating season of African buffalo takes place between March and May. Pregnancy lasts 11 and half months and ends with one baby (calf).

Bond between mother and calf is very strong. Calf is completely dependent on its mother during the period of suckling, which lasts one year.

Average lifespan of the African buffalo in the wild is 20 years.

 

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