Category Archives: Forest Buffalo

Forest Buffaloes, In Discussion & Art with Rwandan Children

Forest Buffaloes live in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.  Art of Conservation 2011.Forest Buffalo drawings by AoC students.

Forest Buffalo (Syncerus caffer nanus) live in the Virunga Massif and are referred to by many African names, such as imbogo y’ishyamba and igifushyi. Igifushyi translates loosely to mean forest buffaloes are always sniffing and this sniffing allows poachers to detect it from a distance. These Bovidae are also referred to as Rwarikamavubi meaning that when a forest buffalo is mature, wasps build their nests between its horns. So when the buffalo moves you can be sure that wasps are accompanying it!

Drawing Forest Buffaloes from Volcanoes National Park.   AoC 2011An AoC student draws animals found in Volcanoes National Park.

Additional names, such as igihurambuga and urutango, translate to mean that a forest buffalo is really a strong, gigantic, and scary animal.

Forest Buffaloes live in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.  Art of Conservation 2011.Forest Buffalo drawings by AoC students.

The team and I distribute visuals and masks and share with the students the animals current population status, characteristics, recognition, distribution, habitat, and behavior. The African Forest Buffaloes and the Savannah Buffaloes have habitat differences and there are even cases of crossbreeding but they are generally classified as two different subspecies. This is the case for the Volcanoes National Park Forest Buffaloes and the Akagera National Park Savannah Buffaloes. Forest buffaloes live in groups of 5 to 20 individuals, feeding on tender shoots of grass, cane and leaves.

Drawing Forest Buffaloes.  AoC 2011Painting a Forest Buffalo while ‘being’ a Forest Buffalo.

The Forest Buffalo’s typical habitat is the dense jungle of western and central Africa. Their distribution includes the central jungle of DRC, Gabon, Congo, southern Cameroon and the coastal forests of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Liberia and Guinea.

Forest Buffaloes live in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.  Art of Conservation 2011.Forest Buffalo drawing by an AoC student.

Local community members are frightened when moving around their villages in the early morning hours because Forest Buffaloes are often out of the park grazing.

Forest Buffaloes live in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.  Art of Conservation 2011.Forest Buffalo drawings by AoC students.

My team and I, with the guidance from the park service, inform our students the safest ways in which we can live safely with wildlife that occasionally moves out of the protected forest and into community lands. Much more work needs to be done as more and more animals seem to be crossing the park’s boundaries.