May 22, 2009

The Big Fives

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 10:20 am

Lions:The lion (Panthera leo) is one of four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India, having disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia in historic times. Lions live for around 10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live over 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than ten years as fights with rivals occasionally cause injuries.

Leopards: The leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera; the other three are the tiger, lion and jaguar. Once distributed across southern Asia and Africa, from Korea to South Africa, the leopard’s range of distribution has decreased radically over time due to hunting and loss of habitat, and the leopard now chiefly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. There are fragmented populations in Pakistan, India, Indochina, Malaysia, and China.

Elephants:They are large land mammals of the order Proboscidea and the family Elephantidae. Elephant are. The elephant has appeared in cultures across the world. They are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence, where they are thought to be on par with cetaceans and hominids.Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators, although lions may take calves or weak individuals.They are, however, increasingly threatened by human intrusion and poaching.

Rhinos:They are large mammals shortsighted, bad tempered but magnificent to look at. Unfortunately there aren’t too many to look at these days due to poaching. Rhino horn, used for medicinal purposes, is much prized in the Middle East and the Far East where it is more valuable than gold.There are two species of rhino in Africa, the Black rhino and the White rhino, both of which you can see while on safari. Black rhinos have suffered the most drastic reduction in population in the last 20 years. There are now only about 3500 left in the wild although valiant conservation efforts are increasing those numbers.

Buffaloes:The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps, floodplains as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa. Buffalo can be found from the highest mountains to sea level areas, and prefer habitat with dense cover such as reeds and thickets. Herds have also been found in open woodland and grassland.

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