Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Over two
million wildebeests that were supposed to give birth to
500,000 new calves this year reportedly delayed their
reproduction exercise biologically, waiting for rains.
And when the precipitation took longer, they shifted
their breeding location.
Susuma Kusekwa, the Senior Tourism Promotion Officer
for the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) said on
Thursday that the wildebeests are capable of holding on
to pregnancy for an extended 2 or 3 months, awaiting
favorable condition before releasing their babies into
But, the official said that effects of climate change
have driven millions of ungulates that were supposed to
give birth to nearly 500,000 new wildebeest calves in
Serengeti National Park and parts of Ngorongoro
Conservation Area, to relocate their breeding sites to
central parts of the Tanzania’s second largest
"This is the first time this is happening and we fear
that, increasing number of livestock, especially cattle,
in Ngorongoro, has also scared the wildebeests from
venturing further south, where livestock have eaten all
grass," added Kusekwa.
"Normally the wildebeests after crossing back to
Tanzania from Maasai Mara game reserve, they heed to
Ndutu area, South of the Serengeti Nationals park
striding the Northern Section of Ngorongoro Conservation
where they start their annual breeding process from
January to February," explained Paschal Shelutete,
TANAPA, Principal Public Relations Officer.
But this year, the ungulates did not venture beyond
Naabi hills, but remained in the central parts of
Serengeti, mostly Seronera where the calving, albeit a
delayed one is currently taking place and this strange
shift of behaviour seems to baffle conservationists.
William Mwakilema, Chief Conservator for Serengeti
National Park, said there are many factors that could
have contributed to the wildebeests shifting their
calving precinct from South to Central Serengeti,
including delayed rains in the Northern Ngorongoro.
"Seronera and other sections of Central Serengeti
received precipitation earlier than the Southern areas
that suffered drought and for the wildebeests to give
birth to calves they need tender grass sprouting from
the early rains," explained Mwakilema.
Serengeti is home to more than 2.5 million
wildebeests that reproduce annually to bring 500,000 new
ungulate calves every January and February.
The always mobile mammals form the world famous,
legendary migration which remains among the global
wonders in its own right.