The African buffalo or Cape buffalo, is a large African bovine.
The adult buffalo's horns is its characteristic feature, it has fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield referred to as a "boss". It is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills over 200 people every year.
The current status of African Cape buffalo is dependent on the animal's value to both trophy hunters and tourists, paving the way for conservation efforts through anti-poaching patrols, village crop damage payouts, and CAMPFIRE payback programs to local areas.
Being a member of the 'big five' game family, a term originally used to describe the five most dangerous animals to hunt.The larger bulls are targeted for their trophy value, although in some areas, buffaloes are still hunted for meat.
Herd size is highly variable. The core of the herds is made up of related females, and their offspring, in an almost lineardominance hierarchy. The basic herds are surrounded by subherds of subordinate males, high-ranking males and females and old or invalid animals. The young males keep their distance from the dominant bull, who is recognizable by the thickness of his horns. During the dry season, males will split from the herd and form bachelor groups.
Two types of bachelor herds occur: ones made of males aged four to seven years and those of males 12 years or older. During the wet season, the younger bulls rejoin a herd to mate with the females. The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa. This buffalo prefers habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can also be found in open woodland. While not particularly demanding with regard to habitat, they require water daily, so depend on perennial sources of water. Like the plains zebra, the buffalo can live on tall, coarse grasses. Herds of buffalo mow down grasses and make way for more selective grazers. When feeding, the buffalo makes use of its tongue and wide incisor row to eat grass more quickly than most other African herbivores. Buffaloes do not stay on trampled or depleted areas for long.