A game reserve (also known as a wildlife preserve) is a large area of land where wild animals live safely or are hunted in a controlled way for sport. If hunting is prohibited, a game reserve may be considered a nature reserve; however, because the focus of a game reserve is specifically the animals (fauna), whereas a nature reserve also if not equally is concerned with all aspects of naturally-occurring life in the area (plants, animals, insects, etc.).
Many game reserves are located in Africa. Most are open to the public, and tourists commonly take sightseeing safaris. Historically, among the most well-known hunting targets were the so-called Big Five game in Africa: rhinoceros, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and lion, named so because of the difficulty and danger in hunting them.
In a game reserve, ecosystems are protected and conservation is usually key. Indigenous wildlife in its natural habitat help in providing an environment where growth in numbers at a natural rate can occur.
Some game reserves contain more than one ecosystem, sometimes even five, ranging from valley bushveld, savannah grassland and fynbos to riverine forest and acacia woodland; this provides a dramatic improvement on the types of wildlife that are present and the numerous species of birds that thrive on in these environments.
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- Zijlma, Anouk. "Africa for Visitors: The Big Five". About.com. Retrieved 2006-12-29.