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South Africa Holiday: Cape Buffalo


Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) are a heavily built member of the cow family found in the southern African savannahs. They have a reddish brown coat, the neck is thick, and the head carries two low, curved horns with a large boss between them. The females form protective herds whilst the males are mostly solitary.

Cape buffalo are a stocky member of the cow family. Females live in herds with their young (including males under three years old) - there may be up to 1,000 animals in a single herd. Males are mostly solitary or form small bachelor groups.
South Africa Holiday: Cape Buffalo in the former Vaalbos National Park
The herds are very protective of their members, and appear to 'vote' on which direction they should move using different postures.
South Africa Holiday: Cape Buffalo in Kruger National Park
Although they have a lifespan of about 30 years in captivity, it is unlikely that they reach even half that age in the wild.
Cape buffalo are 240-340cm long, standing 135-170cm at the shoulder and weighing 680kg (male) or 576kg (female).
South Africa Holiday: Skull and horns of a Cape Buffalo (Kruger National Park)

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BBC Science & Nature
Breeding can take place at any time of year, but births tend to peak during the wet summer season.
South Africa Holiday: Solitary Cape Buffalo bull in Kruger National ParkMales associate with the herd for a short period and pursue any females in oestrus during this time and try to repel any other males.
Gestation is 340 days, after which a single calf is born. The youngster remains hidden in vegetation for the first few weeks, being nursed occasionally by the mother, before joining the protective group, where they are held in the centre of the herd for safety.
The Cape Buffalo is one of two sub-species of the African Buffalo: the Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) is found in savannas and woodland of southern Africa; the Forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) is found in forests near the equator.
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