Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

The wildebeest population at Serengeti National Park, has not recovered from a drought that killed 25 per cent of the herd five years ago. Scientists, monitoring the population dynamics of the migratory wildebeest in Serengeti, northern Tanzania, say recent data confirm that the population of the animals, had stabilised at about 900,000 by the end of last year.

However, a report by principal investigators in the ongoing Serengeti biodiversity programme, A R E Sinclair of the us and Simon A R Mduma of Tanzania cast doubts on the pattern of the increase. "These changes provided a significant contrast in densities and the opportunity to determine the life history stages where survival was density-dependent," they said in their report to the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology. The migratory wildebeest population of the Serengeti ecosystem, have been monitored for the past 40 years. According to Mduma, the worst drought in 50 years hit Serengeti from May 1993 to February 1994. During this time, a large number of wildebeest died from lack of food in the vast drought-prone plains.

Because of lack of pasture, a large number of animals followed the rain outside the park boundaries into Ikoma and Mugumu areas in Mara region where they suffered what wildlife experts described as "high poaching mortality."

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