The name big five originate from the hunters who used to foot looking for the big five animals. But these were very hard to hunt and today it’s widely used by tour operators. The Big Five animals are the lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffaloes.
These five wild animals were originally termed ‘the Big Five’ by big game hunters who found them to be the most difficult and dangerous African animals to hunt on foot. These days the term ‘Big Five’ was excessively used in the African safari industry, where sightings, encounters and photo opportunities of these heavyweights are highly sought-after.
These five large African mammal species were known to be dangerous and it was considered a feat by trophy hunters to bring them home.
The African Lion Commonly referred as the king of the jungle and it’s an excellent hunter. For years, lions have been members of the cat family and are you likely to find them resting in the shade or on the branches of trees.
Facts about the African lion:
- Lions live in groups called prides.
- A lion can rest for more than 20 hours a day
- Female lions support each other in rearing the cubs
- Female lions hunt more often than male lions
- A lion’s roar can be heard up to 8 km away
Buffalo’s primary predator is the lion. Buffalo rescue any other member who has been caught, they have been observed killing a lion after it has killed a member of the group.
Facts about the Cape buffalo:
- Cape Buffalos live in large of 1,000 animals.
- Cape Buffalos drink water daily, hence always live next to water sources.
- Cape Buffalos protect their calves by placing them in the middle of the herd.
Leopards are excellent trees climbers, they will safeguard their prey in a tree to prevent lions and hyenas from stealing. They can also swim and rarely eat fish and crabs.
Facts about the Cape Leopards:
- It has a perfect camouflage.
- Leopards are roaming loners
- Leopards take their killed prey in trees avoid distances with lions and hyenas
- Leopards are excellent swimmers and great at the high jump – they can jump up to ten feet or three metres high.
Elephants communicate through a long distances at a very low frequency that never be heard by humans. African elephant is the largest of the Big Five and also the largest land living mammal on earth.
Facts about the African elephant:
- An adult elephant eats up to 375 lbs of plant material daily.
- Baby elephants are breastfeed up to 4 years of age of four or five years.
- Young elephants will leave their families at the age of 10-12.
- Elephants are very communicative and sociable.
- Elephants live in herds of up to 100.
Rhinos have poor vision to the extent that they attack trees and rocks by accident, but they have excellent of hearing and sense of smell a, therefore making up for their poor eyesight. The rhino is the most endangered species of the Big Five. Rhino poaching worldwide is caused by illegal trade and driven by an Asian demand for horns, made worse by increasingly sophisticated poachers who are now using veterinary drugs, poison, cross bows and high calibre weapons to kill rhinos. Uganda has a few Rhino conserved in Nakasongola district way to Murchison falls national park.
Facts about the African rhino:
- Rhinos weighing up to 6000 lbs.
- Rhinos are short-sighted animals with excellent sense of smell and hearing.
- A rhino’s gestation period is between 15 to 16 months.
- A rhino horn weighs up to 6 to 8 lbs.
Many plant species have evolved seeds that are dependent on passing through an elephant’s digestive tract before they can germinate. At least one third of tree species in West African forests rely on elephants in this way for dissemination.
Countries with the big five families are Angola, Malawi Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Botswana.
They are also commonly found in the major protected areas of the country, in all savannah and tropical rain-forests. On your safari to Uganda, they are seen in Murchison falls, Queen Elizabeth kidepo valley and other national parks and wildlife reserves of the country.