Apparently, since the beginning of time, people have been on the hunt for these animals. And at some point, big game hunters (the guys with the funny hats carrying a blunderbuss) or their guides coined the phrase “Big 5.” You might think this refers to the size of the animals in question, but no, the distinction comes from the fact that these five animals are the most dangerous and difficult to hunt on foot. As time went on, it became a very successful marketing phrase.
A fun and informative website regarding the Big 5 is: big5.southafrica.net
A few people still shoot guns to kill the lion, the rhino, the leopard, the cape buffalo and the elephant for trophies. It’s legal to hunt these animals, and many others, on almost 9000 game ranches and in some provincial game reserves in South Africa. Most people shoot with their cameras, though, and usually nobody gets hurt. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that someone fell out of a game drive vehicle and broke some bone trying to get the perfect shot.
I’m pleased to say that over the course of a year, Steven and I have got our trophy pictures of the Big 5. Some we found on our own, just driving around. Some our rangers pointed out in the wild on a game drive. And in the interest of being completely transparent, some are in big pens, even though the photos don’t show it.