Q:

Why are the lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo known as the big five?

A:

Quick Answer

The lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and cape buffalo are known as the "Big Five" because of their stature as the five toughest animals to hunt on foot. The list was coined by African hunters because of the animals' ferocity, not just because of their size.

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Full Answer

The "Big Five" is the focus of many African safari tours that offer guided trips for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the prized animals. Because of increased hunting by man and habitat destruction, all five have been recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as ranging from "near threatened" to "endangered."

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