If you are planning on going on an African Safari any time soon the you might have heard the term ‘the big 5’ mentioned, but what is ‘the big 5’? The term is referring to five species of animal that are among the most sought after for Safari thrill seekers and, unfortunately, hunters. The term refers to the animals that are the hardest to hunt because of the danger that they pose or the difficult in hunting them. So which of Africa’s many native species make up the big 5.
These enormous, gracious creatures need no introduction, and simply cannot be missed. They dominate the African plains with their sheer size and large herds, but unfortunately even beasts of this size and strength are vulnerable to the weapons of poachers. Their tusks are made from ivory which can fetch a small fortune to a poacher, meaning that elephants are a prime target. Sadly their numbers are dwindling, but Safari thrill seekers still have a good chance of seeing an elephant during their stay.
The Black Rhino.
A powerful, fearsome animal, the black Rhino is quite a sight. As with the elephant’s tusks, Rhino’s horns are also sought after by poachers which has left some Rhino species on the brink of extinction. Being hunted to the point of extinction means that you’d be quite lucky if you do get to see a rhino on safari, and conservationists tend to prefer to keep people away from those that they know about living in the vicinity. Conservation efforts are in place to save the Black Rhino, let’s hope it is not too late for them.
They might seem like peaceful creatures at first, and for the most part they are, as they graze on the grasses and foliage of the African plains. Get too close though and you will get to see just why this herbivore is considered to be among the most dangerous of animals to hunt. Cape buffalo are large, powerful animals that are fiercely defensive, and they work together to defend the herd in group. They defend their herds daily from hunting lions and other fearsome animals, so it’s no wonder that they will give hunters a run for their money.
One of the continent’s most iconic residents, the African lion is a majestic beast that is fascinating to watch. Living in large, social groups, lions have long been at the centre of attention for safari goers, documentary makers and, of course, big game hunters. They can be as fierce as they are majestic and a pride can be quick to take care of any potential threats to the group as soon as possible. A lion’s pelt can fetch a lot of money on the black market making them a target for poachers, while hunters value them just to be able to say that they took one of the magnificent creatures down.
The leopard is considered to be among the most beautiful of all the big cats, but it is also among the most elusive. Not only is the leopard a master of camouflage, it is also very secretive and usually chooses to stay hidden away where it cannot be seen. Its superior stealth allows it to close up on prey undetected, which also helps to keep it well hidden from people.
It is the leopard’s stealth that had led to it being named among the big 5 because it takes an expert hunter to spot one, let along kill one. The leopard’s natural elusiveness along with falling numbers due to hunting and poaching means that you should consider yourself fortunate if you get to spot one when you are on safari.
Nowmi, who has been an escort with PalaceVIP for several years, went to visit African Safari as well. And she enjoyed the tour.