Elephants are large land mammals, which can be divided into three species: the African Bush Elephant, the African Forest Elephant and the Asian Elephant and are of the order Proboscidea and the family Elephantidae. There are three living species: the African Bush Elephant, the African Forest Elephant and the Asian or Indian Elephant.
African elephants are other than Asian elephants: Their ears are much larger; the animals are larger and have concave backs. Furthermore, the elephants are less hairy than their Asian relative. An elephant typically lives for 50 to 70 years; it can reach a body weight of up to 12,000 kg and lives in a structured social order. The females spend their entire live in family groups made up of mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts. The oldest female or matriarch leads the group, while adult males live mostly solitary lives.
There are currently between 470,000 and 690,000 African elephants living in the wild. By far the largest populations have been found in Southern and Eastern Africa.
The leopard is the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera; the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar. The leopard’s range of distribution has decreased radically due to hunting and loss of habitat – the leopard now chiefly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa.
The leopard resembles the jaguar, although it is smaller and of slighter build. The fur of the leopard is marked with rosettes without internal spots – unlike those of the jaguar. A fully grown up leopard will vary in body weight between 37 and 91 kg, males are about 30% larger than females.
As there are many spotted cats, a leopard may be mistaken for a jaguar or cheetah. But the leopard is larger and more muscular than the cheetah, but slightly smaller than the jaguar. The leopard’s black, irregular rosettes serve as camouflage. They are circular in East Africa but tend to be square-shaped in southern Africa.
The African Buffalo, Affalo or Cape Buffalo is a large African bovid. Savannah type buffaloes weigh 500 to 900 kg, with the males being larger and heavier than the females. Forest type buffaloes are only half that size. The Buffalo has an unpredictable nature which makes it highly dangerous to humans. Unlike its Asian counterpart, the African Buffalo hasn’t been domesticated.
Buffalos live in herds of variable sizes; the basic herd is formed by related females, accompanied by sub-herds of bachelor males, high ranking males and females and old or invalid buffalos. The herd will stick close together when chased by predators and make it hard for the predator to pick off one member. The calves are gathered in the middle of the herd.
The term “rhinoceros” (or “rhino”) is used to group five species of: two of those live in Africa (the black and white rhino), the other three live in Asia (Indian, Javen and Sumatran Rhinoceros). Rhinos are hunted for their horn and three of the species are considered critically endangered (the Sumatran, Javan and Black Rhinoceros), the Indian Rhino is endangered and the White rhino is registered as vulnerable with some 9,000 animals still in the wild.
Rhinos are characterized by its large sizes (all of the species are able to reach one ton or more in weight) and its large horn. The rhino is herbivorous and has a thick protective skin formed from layers of collagen positioned in a lattice structure. The white rhinoceros is the most massive remaining land animal in the world after the elephant, along with the Indian rhino and the hippopotamus. It can exceed 3,000 kg.
The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped Rhinoceros (latin term: Ceratotherium simum) is the most massive remaining land animal in the world after the elephant, along with the Indian Rhinoceros and the hippopotamus, which are of comparable size. This rhino can exceed 3,000 kg. By the way: The white rhino is actually not white at all. The name comes from the Dutch word “whyt” (wide), referring to the wide square mouth that allows the rhino to graze.
The Black Rhinoceros can reach a body weight of 800 to 1,400 kg. It has a pointed mouth, which it uses to grasp leaves when feeding.
The lion is a member of the family Felidae of the genus Panthera. It is the second-largest living cat after the tiger with some individuals exceeding 250 kg. Until about 10,000 years ago the lion was the most widespread large land mammal beside humans. Today, wild lions only exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India. They disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia.
In the wild, lions live for around 10 to 14 years, in captivity they can live over 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than 10 years, as they often fight with rivals and get injuries.