African forest buffalo in Dzanga-Sangha
Also known as the “dwarf buffalo” (Syncerus caffer nanus), the African forest buffalo lives in the tropical forests of West and Central Africa. However, the home ranges of these subspecies are generally made up of a combination of marshland, grassy savannas and forests. The savannas are mainly used for food while taking advantage of the forest cover sheltered from predators as well as the marshes to wallow in the mud. He rarely ventures into the deep canopy of forests, preferring to stay on the edge of them. While the Cape buffalo can weigh up to 900 kg, form herds of around 20,000 animals and cover areas of almost 1,000 km², the forest buffalo does not exceed 300 kg, which represents only about one-third of the size of the African buffalo. The herds are reduced to 25 or even 30 animals maximum and the distances covered are approximately 8 km². He has poor eyesight, a fine hearing and an excellent sense of smell.
The dwarf buffalo diet is mainly composed of grass and various plants found in savannas and clearings. The variety of habitats is essential for the buffalo. The expansion and encroachment of the tropical forest, as well as savannahs, are a major difficulty for the maintenance of ecosystems. This bovid is often found next to old roads and forest tracks, where the forest is less dense and where grass and other food grow. In addition to grasses and clearing plants, the forest buffalo needs shade and constant access to water.
Threats and vulnerability
Although figures on the exact number of forest buffalo population living in the rainforests of the Congo Basin are not available, we can, however, say with certainty that the population of forest buffalo has decreased considerably in recent decades. Forests destruction and poaching are serious threats to the buffalo populations. A visit generates the necessary funds aimed at fighting poaching, which is a permanent threat.