Looking at the size and muscular power of our Congo Buffalo, it seems amazing to think they belong to the same family as cows and heifers you might see in farm fields on your way to Chester Zoo.

But these heavyweight cattle are built to withstand the trials of survival in a completely different climate – the wilds of Africa.

Their big build, with broad chests, large heads and thick horns, equips them to deal with life in the dense rainforests of Central Africa, where they are restricted to.
Numbers of the Congo Buffalo in the wild are unknown, however they are thought to be quite low and they remain at risk of disease epidemics, which have been known to wipe out whole herds in the past.

They are also a target for poachers who hunt them for meat and for their hides. Other than us humans, they have few other predators.

Typically reddish brown or dark mahogany in colour, with coarse bristly hairs, male buffalos are bigger than females. Both grow backwards sweeping horns though those of the male are larger and thicker.

They have big drooping, fringed ears and excellent hearing which alerts them about any potential dangers in the wild. Despite their stocky build, they can run up 25 miles an hour.

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Interesting facts

Where they live Through the equatorial rainforest belt of west & central Africa
Habitat bushland, acacia woodland, montane grasses and forests
Size Up to 1.7m shoulder height; up to 3.4m length
Weight Up to 900kg
Threats Habitat loss and poaching

Species Information

Scientific name Syncerus caffer nanus
Order Artiodactyla
Family Bovidae
Genus Syncerus
IUCN status Least Concern
Roles in the zoo

Visitor experience