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Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) Fact Sheet
Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Class: Mammalia - mammals
Order: Artiodactyla - even-toed hoofed animals (includes pigs, sheep goats, cattle, deer)
Family: Bovidae - antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep, bovids
Species: Syncerus caffer - African buffalo, Cape buffalo
Subspecies: Syncerus caffer nanus - forest buffalo
265-320 kg (584-705 lb)
180-220 cm (71-87 in)
100-130 cm (39-51 in)
34-72 cm (13-28 in)
Red-brown to brown. Undersides being more pale. Short mane.
|Distribution & Status
||Behavior & Ecology
Rainforest best of Central and Western Africa.
Prefer savannas interspersed with patches of forest, reeds, or scrub.
Species-level (African buffalo): Near Threatened (2018 assessment) (IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2019)
Not listed (as of Jun 2019) (UNEP 2019)
Population in Wild
Few estimates available. One rough estimate of 56,000 (2018), but unknown how many live in Central Africa.
Can run for bursts of speed (e.g., to outrun lions), but are not endurance runners.
Not well understood for forest buffalo.
Herds of small groups; some fluidity in group membership. Gregarious. Non-territorial.
Grasses, sedges, leaves, shoots
Lions, spotted hyenas, lions, humans.
|Reproduction & Development
Not reported for this subspecies. Perhaps similar to other African buffalo subspecies.
Usually one; occasionally two
40-53 kg (88-117 lb) at one month old
Age at Weaning
4-6 months; suckling may last until 18 months in some populations
In the wild: 20-25 years
In managed care: up to 30 years
- Much smaller body compared to other African buffalo subspecies
- Variety of coloration and horn widths
- Thick skin to help with thermoregulation
- Mud wallowing has self-care as well as social importance
- Use dominance/threat displays to avoid fights
- Vulnerable to habitat loss, hunting, disease, and drought
- This subspecies has a disjunct distribution: one area in the forest belt of West Africa and another in Lower Guinea Forest and Congo Basin
About This Fact Sheet
© 1999-2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Minor updates 2017. IUCN Status and population estimates updated Apr 2019.
How to cite: Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) Fact Sheet. c1999-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ forestbuffalo
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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