Friday, February 12, 2021

Happy Lunar New Year – The Year of the Ox!

Today starts the new lunar year – also called the Chinese New Year, but celebrated in many Asian countries. 2021 is the Year of the Ox and as every year, we want to take the opportunity to highlight the respective species – or a close African relative – from the Chimp&See cameratrap video footage. This year, it is of course the forest buffalo

African forest buffalos (Syncerus caffer nanus) are a subspecies of the African buffalo – smaller than the ones you see in the savannahs of South and East Africa, but still impressive in their build. Adults of both sexes have short C-shaped horns that point back. Coloration is dark reddish to brown with an even darker line down the spine and darker lower legs. The ears have adorable black and white fringes. 

In the past five years since we started with your help to analyze our video footage, we’ve seen forest buffalos relatively rarely. This all changed with starting the Twin Oaks (Loango, Gabon) site in collaboration with the Ozouga Loango Chimpanzee Project. The mixed landscape consisting of several habitat types varying from coastal lagoons, mangrove swamps, coastal forest, secondary and primary forest and open savannah seem to be ideally suited for this species. They can graze in the forest clearings and use the wetter habitats for wallowing to keep insects away. They usually have some help with the latter part from yellow-billed oxpeckers cleaning patiently their coats.

Two yellow-billed oxpecker cleaning a forest buffalo's fur
Two yellow-billed oxpeckers cleaning a forest buffalo's fur. Original video here.

Forest buffalos are seen at night and day. They sometimes discover our cameratrap and react to this in different ways. Please enjoy some video highlights from our forest buffalos, have some good Asian food of your choice, and a happy and prosperous new year!