Ever wondered why these mammal species are considered as big five? Originally these mammals were hard to hunt and many times they would put a trophy to whoever was success full to hunt one down. The list makes five of them and they are considered dangerous in the wild however most of them like the African buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros look calm, they are defensive when attacked.
Lions are classified under the cats family and one of the biggest in size, lions are listed as endangered species under the IUCN red book unit, they are threatened by habitat loss. Lions are social because they live in a pride of about 10 individuals including male, females and cubs. Lions have a amazing characteristics in case you take time to observe them in their pride, a full grown male lion is characterized by mane around the neck, while females have no hair and slightly in bigger size than the males.Lions can roar in arrange of 5 miles calling upon other members of the pride, females roar to call their young ones in a lower tone or signalizing a threat or danger. Once in a while they rub each other heads while greeting themselves. Lions are carnivores and usually their target prey are kobs, oribis, antelopes among others.
Lions in Uganda can be spotted in various national parks including Murchison falls national park, kidepo valley, Queen Elizabeth national park.
The leopard appears small in size among the cat family but its known for its power and being a stronger climber. Leopard is an excellent nocturnal predator with a reliable night vision. Leopards are covered with rosette fur and are solitary in nature, other than mating and raising young cubs, they are known to be social loners there fore the only time when two leopards are spotted together is during mating after that a male leopard will move away. The ability to live under all conditions makes them survive in the sub Saharan regions, Savannah woodlands and forests. Leopards have a wide variety on its menu prey, they feed on insects, birds, mammals like antelopes, oribis, and as large as a giraffe, reptiles including snakes, and crocodiles, this makes leopards good swimmers, they can target their prey even in water there fore Leopards must be elusive and independent to survive. In Uganda leopards can be spotted in various national parks which include queen Elizabeth national park, kidepo valley national park, Murchison falls national park and rarely in lake mburo national park.
Rhinos are classified as black or white rhinoceros however they actually don’t look the description the difference is in the size of their lips. In general, they are all grey in color and both huge endangered species, with three hooves and a 3-inch skin. Back in the day, there were over 500 rhinos in Uganda before they became extinct due to severe poaching. Rhinos are characterized by a short horn on their head and are short sighted in nature but have a strong sense of smell and hearing for compensation. Rhinos leave as a family and it’s called a crash. Their gestation period is second longest to the elephant at 16 months. Rhinos in Uganda have remained in only two locations, Uganda wildlife education conservation center and Zziwa Rhino sanctuary. The sanctuary has gone to great measures to ensure that the world’s second largest land mammals are well protected against poaching and extinction.
Elephants are the largest wild mammal species classified under Savannah elephants and forest elephants, however forest elephants are more destructive. Elephants live in the wild for about 70- 80 years. They are social animals and more often they will be spotted in groups. Savannah elephants weigh 3500-12000 kilograms, but females are slightly smaller, elephants are characterized by a large trunk they use to breath, draw water as well as clear way in bush thicket, they raise their trunks and ears in sense of danger. They have big sensitive hooves which makes them walk in a slow motion. Elephants feed on shrubs, tree branches about 140-270 kgs per 16 hours a day. Elephants have the longest gestation period of 22 months and the calf usually weighs up to 120 kgs. Elephants love to swim and are able to swim for long distances using their trunks as makeshift snorkels. Elephants have a good memory of up to 4 years and interestingly they behave as Humans in times of grief when they lose a herd member, they often burry and stay around the grave for days as a sign of mourning.
Forest elephants can be spotted in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and kibale national park, while Savannah elephants are in kidepo valley national park, queen Elizabeth national park and Murchison falls national park.
These buffaloes look more like domestic cows, they are mostly found in the Savannah parks in Uganda. Buffaloes are said to be the most dangerous of the big five game animals next to lions and leopards. because of their solidarity when an enemy attacks, however much the lion tries, the buffaloes will come together and fight back, only a large crocodile may be successful dragging it into water. It’s also estimated over 200 people are killed by buffaloes a year.
Buffaloes have a gestation period of 11. 5 months and they only mate during the rainy season, towards mating a bull will identify a ready cow and guard it against others, a calf is protected around its mother up to 2 years of growth.
Buffaloes are prone to vulnerable cattle diseases, most often they have suffered from sleeping sickness transmitted by tsetse flies, the disease brings a constant state of lethargy and trouble sleeping leading to poor coordination until their death. In the 1890s, a rinderpest plague almost made the African buffalo extinct since the pandemic killed off 90% of them. Since then, they recovered and population went up, but conservationists are always concerned of any possible unexpected plague that could threaten their existence again.
African buffaloes can be spotted in lake mburo national park, queen Elizabeth national park, kidepo valley national park as well as Murchison falls national park.