Big 5

Elephants

An elephant has to feed for at least 14 hours a day to obtain the 170 kg of food. It may have to travel long distances to water. It sleeps standing up for a few minutes at a stretch. The basic social unit is a group of related adult females with their young of varies ages. Adult male join them only when one of the females is on heat. Elephants are not territorial. If their usual food and water supplies fail elephants will trek long distances to reach better conditions. They can make 200 km treks. If it is able to, an elephant goes to water once a day to drink, bathe and wallow in mud. On average it will drink 70 to 90 litres a day, but it can drink up to 150 litres if it is very thirsty.

Lion

Lions are the only cats in which social groups are almost universal, and the only ones that regularly hunt in groups. They eat almost any food from termites to elephants. They prefer prey of medium and large size like antelopes in the 50 to 300 kg range. They are avoiding the heat of the day and are most active in the night or also in the cool of the morning or evening. Pride males do not hunt, their large size make them more conspicuous and less successful then lionesses. Males swallow up to 35 kg, and females up to 22 kg which is 15 per cent of their body weight.

Leopard

Leopards are very solitary, they associate with each other only when female are on heat and when they have cups. They move frequently around during the day, but they prefer remote areas. With distinctive contact call they keep the neighbour away from them and can call females. Leopards are very agile climbers. Almost any reptile, fish or mammal ranging in size from mice to kudu, may fall prey to a leopard. A leopard will stalk a target that moves slowly away over distances of a few hundred meters, or wait in ambush if the target moves towards it.

Buffalo

They live in a large herds containing up to a few thousand animals of both sexes and all ages. Old males tend to wander solitary or to form small groups. The largest herds are seen during the dry season. After the rains when food is plentiful herds more then 500 strong split into smaller units. Within each herd there are smaller subunits of 15 to 20 animals who stay closer to each other then to the rest. There are separate dominance hierarchies among the males and females determined by fighting ability. High rank brings a privilege of travelling and feeding in the front and center of the herd. The low ranking animals have to graze at the back what the herd leaves and they suffer most heavily from predation.

Black Rhino

They are less active during the hottest part of the day than at other times. They are solitary. A calf stays with its mother until it is about 2-4 years old, when she has her next calf. Some males may congregate around a female on heat but such groups are temporary. They live in overlapping home ranges of about 200 ha in rich areas and 400 ha where the vegetation is less dense. They wallow in water or mud to keep themselves cool and to get rid of parasites. Their eyesight is poor but its hearing is acute and its sense of smell very keen, so its nasal passages are bigger than its brain. Fights between black rhinos are rare because they avoid each other. They usually occur when two bulls are courting the same female. It has reputation for bad temper. They can charge at 50 km/h, and are most likely to attack if taken by surprise.

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