African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) are large gregarious bovids, which at one time ranged across all but the driest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Their numbers and distribution have been greatly reduced in the past century by habitat loss, the great rinderpest pandemic and non-sustainable hunting pressure.
Buffalo are ecologically important because they are bulk grazers, which occur in large herds. Through short-term, mass grazing pressure, these herds are capable of opening up tall rank grass cover, to the benefit of other species which are more elective or short grass feeders. Buffalo are also important from the eco-tourism point of view, being a member of Africa’s charismatic “big five”, which are much sort after for viewing, photography and hunting.
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