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Where to see buffalo

African buffalo are one of the big five and one of the most numerous large herbivores in Africa. Weighing between 1,300 and 2,000 pounds, they can gather in herds as large as a thousand animals. They are never far from water and can be found on grasslands, savannas, swamps, lowland floodplains and mixed forest throughout Africa's protected areas. Although they make look like calm, plodding creatures, they can be among the most dangerous animals on the savannah. Solitary older males can be aggressive when surprised (the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania fear coming across them unexpectedly in the bush) and herds will aggressively defend themselves and even try to rescue another herd member being attacked. Large cats such as lions and - in India - tigers, are their primary predator. Buffalo in Africa have been observed killing lions and even cubs after a member of the herd has been killed or attacked. You can find water buffalo in India and Australia and India you can also find the Gaur, the largest species of wild cattle. Gaur are most easily found in Southern India in parks such as Nagarahole, Bandipur and small populations exist in Satpura, Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks in Madya Pradesh as well.

Did you know?

  • Cape buffalo can live in herds of up to 2000 members!
  • African Buffalo are always within a day's walk of a water source.
  • Asian water buffalo have been domesticated for more than 5,000 years.
  • The gaur is the largest species of wild cattle, bigger than the Cape Buffalo, water buffalo and even the Bison.
  • There are four subspecies of African buffalo: The forest buffalo and then three forms of the savanna buffalo; the West African savanna buffalo, the central African savanna buffalo, and the southern Savanna buffalo. Of these, the southern savanna buffalo, or Cape buffalo, is the largest.

Conservation

With an estimated population of nine hundred thousand, the African Buffalo is not considered endangered and is one of Africa’s most abundant large herbivores. Wild Asian water buffalo are endangered and live only in a small number of protected areas stretching across India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and a wildlife reserve in Thailand. Populations are likely to continue to diminish as they are interbred with domesticated water buffalo. Gaur’s are also endangered in the wild and are listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN. The Gaur once roamed throughout mainland south and southeast Asia and Sri Lanka but the largest populations are now found in India. There are on-going efforts to reintroduce the Gaur to national parks such as Kanha and Bandhavgarh in Madya Pradesh.

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