By Brianna Style (Grade 7)
In the African wilderness, five strong, brave and mighty beasts go under the name of the big five.
This predator is known as king of the jungle. He lives in a group of lions called a pride. His roar is loud and echos as far as 4 kilometers. The lion’s shaggy mane frames its face as an orangey, brown colour. As this beast gets older his mane gets darker and darker. The females, however, don’t have a mane. They do all the work such as hunting their prey and teaching their cubs to do the same. When they have successfully caught a meal, they strangle the animal’s throat with their deadly jaws and wait till the prey dies. Then it’s dinner time! The females quickly eat as much as they can before the male comes. Then he chases the females away so he can have his share. When a younger lion comes to take over the pride they will either kill the old leader or send him away. Then the new leader will kill the cubs so that they don’t carry on the old leader’s genes.
These cats have a yellowish colour with black and orange spots. They can be very aggressive towards humans and are very territorial. They are known to be one of the most aggressive animals in Africa. They will kill animals and drag them up a tree so that no other predator can steal it. They live by themselves. Leopards can leap up to 20ft high! Mother leopards look after their young until they are 2 years old. When leopards are happy, just like cats, they will purr! Some people believe that their whiskers and bones can heal diseases and that is one of the reasons they are endangered.
Rhinos are heavy, grey animals that weigh about 700kgs. In Africa, there are two species of rhinos, the black and the white rhinos. Three of the ways you can tell them apart is that the black rhinos have curved lips to eat leaves and the white has a square lip to eat grass. The black rhinos walk with their heads up and the white rhinos walk with their heads down and the black rhino is more aggressive whereas the white rhino can be referred to as a gentle giant. In Zimbabwe there are around eight hundred rhino. Some of the parks that have rhino are Matopos, Hwange and Kyle. There is a plan to reintroduce rhino into Gona re Zhou National Park too. Malilangwe has about four hundred rhino in it. When I was younger I was privileged to touch and be close to rhinos as my grandmother hand reared orphaned rhinos whose mothers had been killed by poachers.
These grumpy beasts are grey with curved horns. Most of them are grumpy and you wouldn’t want to meet one on foot. The best thing to do if you come across a buffalo is to climb a tree. The hide on a bull buffalo is as thick as 2 inches in some places. They moo just like cows. These beasts are hardly scared of anything. When predators come they will thrash them with their strong horns. They live in huge groups called herds. One herd will have at least ninety buffalo.
The popular elephant is huge and grey with large white tusks that curve halfway down their rough, hairy trunks. They have small eyes, therefore, they cannot see that well. Their ears, however, are huge and they have good hearing. Their heavy trunks contain around one 100 000 different muscles. They are the biggest mammals in the world. Elephants are very intelligent and have incredible memories. They actually have the largest brain in the entire animal kingdom and it is 3 to 4 times larger than humans. Although there are quite a lot of elephants around, they are becoming more and more endangered. Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump because they are so heavy but they can run at a speed of 40 km per hour!
All of these beautiful, strong animals are sadly endangered (except for the buffalo) so we must all do what we can to help save these creatures and maybe one day they will no longer be poached but be happy and free!- © NZiRA Travel Zimbabwe, Issue 12
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