The African Buffalo, or Cape Buffalo, (Syncerus caffer) is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. There is estimated to be around 900,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild and they currently have a decreasing population trend.
There are four recognised subspecies of African Buffalo:
- Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus)
- West African Savannah Buffalo (Syncerus caffer brachyceros)
- Central African Savannah Buffalo (Syncerus caffer aequinoctialis)
- Southern Savannah Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer)
HABITAT, DIET AND BEHAVIOUR
You can find the African Buffalo in a wide range of habitats from semi-arid bushland, Acacia woodland, grasslands and forests to coastal savannahs and moist lowlands. Buffalo are only absent from deserts. Grass forms the main bulk of the buffalo’s diet and without fresh green feed buffalos can deteriorate quickly. Buffalos are a spectacular site to see in the wild as they can congregate in the thousands in the rainy season; which is when the majority of births occur.
In the 1890s there was a rinderpest epidemic that resulted in mortality rates as high as 95%. Since then rinderpest and other disease such as anthrax have continued to cause localised declines in numbers and extinctions. Buffalo are also at risk from habitat loss and droughts. Buffalo face high levels of poaching as they are a favourite target of meat hunters.
70% of the African Buffalo populations occur in and around protected areas such as the Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks in Uganda. The future of this species relies closely on the correct management of these protected areas and also in the management of hunting.
You can donate to the African Wildlife Foundation who work to protect many species with the African Buffalo being an important species to them. You can either make a one-off donation or you can donate monthly. If you donate more than $25 you also receive:
- A 16-month calendar with stunning photos of African wildlife
- AWF’s quarterly newsletter
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