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The Big 5
One of the images that come to mind when people think of and African safari, is the Big Five. Those great animals that, for many people around the world, epitomise the ideal African safari. Whether a photographic or traditional hunter, many people do not consider a trip to Africa complete until they have spotted these magnificent beasts.
The 'official' Big Five are:
The Big Five are so named, not because of their size – though some of them are certainly quite big – but rather based on the difficulty of hunting these animals. Some of the animals are elusive, like the leopard and the rhinoceros, while others are just plain dangerous when angered; notably the elephant and buffalo.
For many years trophy hunters sought these animals all over the African bush and their numbers have dwindled over the years. To date most of the Big Five have been the target of numerous conservation efforts to keep them from going extinct. At this stage the lion, the elephant and the leopard are considered 'vulnerable' animals. The white rhinoceros is listed as 'threatened'. The black rhinoceros is the only one of the five that is considered to be 'endangered'. The Cape buffalo is the only one that is in no particular danger, though conservation efforts are in place to ensure they never are in danger.
Once found in many places in Africa, those looking for the Big Five will have the most luck in countries like Botswana, Kenya, South African and Tanzania where they can be found in great numbers. The combination of large reserves and conservation efforts are to thank for this. While they are certainly still around in other countries in Africa, their numbers are smaller and spotting one may not be guaranteed.
Ever since people first started exploring the African landscape, these incredible animals have fascinated them. Something about them still draws people to he dark continent in hopes of spotting one of these elusive, yet majestic creatures. The Big Five are the big stars of Africa.
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