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Buffalo herds

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Welshboy
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Re: Buffalo herds

Unread postby Welshboy » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:47 pm

We spotted this Buffalo herd heading south from near Berg en dal last August, from first sighting the animals crossing the hill to them passing close by to the road took around 5 mins. Even when the front of the herd had reached us the tail-enders were still coming down the hill. I cannot be sure of exact figures but there must of been easily over 500 buffalo in the herd if not more.

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What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Ian Grant » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:40 am

On a recent trip to the south of KNP, I hit a road block, you know the big greyish/black mooing kind. Upon our arrival at this road block, my brother and I could see a huge number of buffalo on the right hand side of the road already (lower section of S28, near Croc Bridge), with the remainder of the herd crossing the road at a very quick and determined pace, roughly 3 to 4 abreast. It took 30min for the entire heard to cross the road.

This was certainly the largest herd I have ever seen, and even more interesting to me was how far south this was (I have always seen the bigger herds up north).

In an attempt to estimate the size of the herd, we counted roughly 50 animals within a 10m to 15m line, with the line moving at the pace it was and for the duration it did, we figured that the herd may be close to 1000 buffalo strong. Is this possible, and what is the largest know herd of buffalo in KNP?
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Crested Val » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:07 am

Wow, that is a big herd.............especially in the south.

We have often seen a large herd 500+ between Mopani and Letaba, and also near Shungwedzi. :thumbs_up:
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:10 am

Ian Grant I do not know the exact answer to your question but we have seen two large herds of Buffalo in Kruger in the more recent years – one at Talamati and one this January on the Phalaborwa –Letaba road. My guess is that both of those herds that we saw were approximately 800 strong. Also at Sirheni we saw a big herd but that one consisted of about 400 buffaloes I think. Would be interesting to know the more scientific answer to your question.
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Ian Grant » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:14 am

Thanks for the replies thus far. I know that herds reach around 1000 in Botswana and Mozambique, with 3000 being recorded in Tanzania. I was wondering if the dropped fences between Moz and SA have started to have an impact on the sizes of herds, not only of buffalo but other species too.

As you say, a more scientific answer would be great! :thumbs_up:
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:35 am

At the end of 2009 I came across a herd heading south off the H7, at a dam near the picnic site (forgot the name) down there. There were buffs in all directions, and I could hardly see the water in the dam for them.
I used my usual couting method ( count the legs and divide by 4 :wink: ) and estimated at least 1200.

I decided to try to get through the herd, as a camp manager had previously told me how.
I drove very slowly, as they were hardly moving, into the herd, which parted like the red sea for my dad's Merc, and after quite a while, I reached the other side. The looks I got were saying "Are you mad?" Yes, but not for that reason.

It is not the first time I have done it, but I would never try it if they were agitated or on a mission.
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby cheetah2111 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:51 am

In november last year I came to a massive buffalo herd near Tsokwane, but most of the herd had already passed through, however I heard the field guide tell his guests that it is one of the largest buffalo herds - around 2000.
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby flying cheetah » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:00 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:I used my usual couting method ( count the legs and divide by 4 ) and estimated at least 1200.

I must remember that method, sounds very effective :lol:
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Mfezi » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:06 pm

A very interesting thread and I would like to see the "more scientific answer." :thumbs_up: About two years ago, I saw a huge herd at Sunset dam - I will say about 400 - 500 :think: Please don't :sniper: me if I am wrong!! :D

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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Imberbe » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:17 pm

Buffalo herds are dynamic, swelling in numbers and then splitting up again. This is most often determined by the availability of resources of food and water to carry a large herd.

A huge herd will only be a temporary set up as it becomes contra productive for the members in terms of competition for resources such as water and grazing. The herd's main benefit is protection against lion predation and diminishing of the chance of being the victim. There is not that much more benefit to a buffalo in a herd of say 600 than in a herd of say 400.

Having said that, these animals will tend to keep to a home range and may form up in various combinations over time.

In essence a large herd is a dynamic combination of many smaller family groupings as well as individual animals.
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Mfezi » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:37 am

Thanks for that explanation Imberbe!! Great stuff to learn so early in the morning!! :thumbs_up:

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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby pops » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:40 pm

On our last trip to KNP we came across a large herd of buffalo, in the south, with some of them chasing off a number of hyenas.

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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:02 am

One night while driving back to Lower Sabie, I saw what I thought was a veld fire.

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It turned out to be hundreds of buffalo on the way to Sunset dam. It made for quite a spectacular sighting. The dust of the moving herd coloured the sky in the same way as a bush fire.
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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby Mfezi » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:54 pm

I also once saw a large herd at Sunset Dam and also on the same side of the dam. Need to go and look for the photos so that I can post them!!

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Re: What is the largest known Buffalo herd in KNP?

Unread postby johanrebel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:54 pm

The largest herd I've managed to count with a semblace of accuracy came to approximately 700. That was in the Timbavati. I've seen larger herds in Botswana.

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