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Research review : The status and distribution of Cape buffalo Syncerus caffer caffer in southern Africa

  • Journal Title: South African Journal of Wildlife Research
  • Volume: Volume 28
  • Issue:  Issue 3
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 82  - 88
  • Authors:  H.E.K. Winterbach;
  • ISSN: 03794369
  • Abstract:  The present status and distribution of Cape buffalo in southern Africa is reviewed. The present estimate of southern Africa's buffalo populations are Botswana 29 300 (±9000), Zimbabwe 48 200 (±21000), Namibia 2 800 (±1000) and South Africa 31 500 (±1OOOO). Buffalo numbers for Mozambique are incomplete, but a decline is estimated at 79% in the buffalo population in the Marromeu Complex. The total number of buffalo in the six largest free-ranging populations in southern Africa, excluding Mozambique, has decreased by more than 50% between 1991 and 1996. The main factor influencing buffalo numbers and distribution in the sub-region is the development of the cattle industry, followed by drought and disease. Only South Africa and Zimbabwe actively produce surplus buffalo for translocation or sale. However, the cumulative loss of genetic diversity in these small, isolated populations may have potentially serious consequences.
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