The African Big Five

Africa is famous for it’s “Big Five”. The term originally referred to hunting lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo. These five mammals are dangerous and it was considered an achievement to bring them home as a trophy. But, today, the term simply refers to the big 5 you will most likely see on an African Safari. All of the following pictures were taken by Marcie Mann on her unforgettable trip to South Africa in 2012.

#1: Lionsdsc_060101

  • Common Name: African Lion
  • Scientific Name: panthera leo
  • Size: 4.5- 6.5 ft. long, 250-400 lbs.
  • Habitat: sub- Saharan Africa
  • Predators: Humans
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable and decreasing due to poaching and habitat loss
  • Fun Fact: The female lions actually do the majority of the hunting in the pride.

 

#2: Leopards

dsc_0315

  • Common Name: African Leopard
  • Scientific Name: panthera pardus
  • Size: Up to 140 lbs.
  • Habitat:  sub-Saharan Africa
  • Predators: Humans
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Fun Fact: Even though they are not nocturnal, leopards are most active and do the majority of their hunting between sunset and sunrise.

 

#3: Rhinos

dsc_0546

  • Common Name: Rhinoceros
  • Scientific Name: diceros bicornis
  • Size: 4-10 ft. long, 2,000- 4,000 lbs.
  • Habitat: Grassland and open savanna
  • Predators: Humans
  • Conservation Status: Critically endangered due to severe illegal poaching. The black rhino population is down 97.6% since 1960.
  • Fun Fact: Rhinos can gallop up to 30 miles per hour.

 

#4: African Elephants

dsc_027201

  • Common Name: African Elephant
  • Scientific Name: loxodonta africana
  • Size: 8.2 to 13 ft tall, up to 14,000 lbs.
  • Habitat: Grasslands and Forest
  • Predators: Humans
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable due to poaching and habitat loss. 8% of the population is poached every year for their tusks.
  • Fun Fact: African elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild.

 

#5: Cape Buffalo

DSC_0704.jpg

  • Common Name: African buffalo
  • Scientific Name: syncerus caffer
  • Size: 4-6 ft. tall, 1,500 lbs.
  • Habitat: Dense forest to open plains
  • Predators: Humans and lions
  • Fun Fact: Cape buffalo are 4 times stronger than an ox, and have actually been known to tip over cars.

 

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