most dangerous animals in South Africa
in the new film, “Wild Safari 3D"
THE BIG FIVE
The African elephant is the largest living land animal. It weighs
up to 7 tons and
inhabits the savannah, brush, forest, river valleys, and semi-desert
regions of Africa
south of the Sahara Desert.
vegetarians, elephants require a lot of food, sometimes consuming
more than 500
pounds of plant matter in one day. Their trunk is employed to
pull branches off trees, uproot grass, pluck fruit, and to place
food in their mouths. The trunk is also used for
smell, touch, drinking, greeting or throwing dirt for dust baths.
incisor teeth in the upper jaw of both male and female elephants
grow to form
large tusks of ivory that have been used to produce billiard balls,
piano keys and other
objects. In the past, hunters destroyed thousands of elephants
to acquire this ivory.
Today, that is no longer happening. The situation has greatly
improved with recent
conservation actions by the South African Government, such as
the signing into law of
the Biodiversity Act of September 2004, protecting the elephant,
and establishment in December 2004 of the National Biodiversity
most elusive of the large carnivores, the leopard is also the
most secretive and
cunning. Pound for pound, it is the strongest climber of the large
cats and capable of
killing prey larger than itself.
come in a wide variety of coat colors, from a light buff or tawny
dry areas to a dark shade in deep forests. The spots, or rosettes,
are circular in East
African leopards but square in southern African leopards.
bush in rocky surroundings and riverine forest are their favorite
leopards adapt to many places in both warm and cold climates.
Their adaptability, in
fact, has helped them survive the loss of habitat to increasing
human settlement. Leopards are primarily nocturnal, usually resting
during the daytime in trees or thick
bush. The spotted coat provides almost perfect camouflage.
are the only cats that live in a large family group called a pride.
Each pride is
Different, but a typical pride consists of two males and seven
females and any number of
cubs. When the pride hunts as a group, they employ an ambush that
forces large prey into the waiting paws of the males. Lions feed
on a variety of large and medium-size
prey, but they prefer wildebeest (or gnu) to all others when the
annual migration brings
vast herds through the pride's environment. Otherwise lions eat
buffalo, zebra, antelope, giraffe, and warthogs.
a mature male lion weighs about 45 pounds and stands 4 feet at
and is 8 and 1/2 feet long, including the tail. Females are smaller,
weighing less than
300 pounds. Adult lions usually have a plain unspotted coat, light
brown in color. Cubs
are marked with spots that sometimes remain on the legs and belly
As a result of widespread persecution, lions in the wild at one
time were one of the most
threatened major groups of land animals. Conservation efforts
in recent years have
enabled the African lion to proliferate, and it has begun to thrive
in the wild once again.
five living species of rhinoceros that survive, two of them, the
white rhino and the
black rhino, live in South Africa. The white rhino is the largest
of all and may stand 6-feet tall at the shoulder and weigh from
2 to 4 tons when fully grown. With large heads,
short necks, a broad chest and very thick legs, all rhinos are
are the only animals on earth that have horns on their noses.
“rhinoceros ” comes from ancient Greek and literally
means “nose ” (rhino) and “horn ”
(ceros). Horns are located on the top of the heads of all other
animals that have them.
To get the horns, hunters in Africa at one time killed rhinos
in large numbers. The rhino
is now a protected species, and their numbers are growing once
again thanks to efforts
by the national game reserves and the government of South Africa.
The African buffalo lives in open grasslands, wooded savannah
It is an extremely adaptable and highly gregarious animal. Buffalo
can associate in
herds of up to 1000 or more. Despite the fact that they are very
extremely dangerous to humans, buffalo are very peaceful amongst
dominant bull among a herd of buffalo is normally the oldest bull
in the herd. Both
sexes have horns, but those of males are more robust and heavier.
Males can attain a
mass of almost a ton, and they have a life-span of approximately
20 years. Buffalo are vegetarians and exclusively graze on grasses,
bushes and leaves. Female buffalo become sexually mature at the
age of five. A single calf is born after
a gestation period of 11 months.
Aquarium IMAX® 3D Theater is located in Chattanooga. Ticket
prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child, ages 3-12. Admission
to the Tennessee Aquarium is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child.
Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for
children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org
or by phone at 800-262-0695. The Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX 3D
Theater are open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas and
are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited
Aquarium visits and IMAX discounts. To join, call 267-FISH.
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For b-roll, call 423-785-3011 or 3007.