Surveying for Maasai giraffes in Serengeti National Park.
__We’ve just returned from a 10-day trip where we surveyed for the presence of Giraffe Skin Disease in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, and Lake Natron region. Unfortunately, we calculated about 20% of giraffes were afflicted with the disease, which causes lesions on the backs of the forelegs. No one has yet estimated the prevalence of Giraffe Skin Disease in northern Tanzania, and it is also unknown whether the disease increases mortality of giraffes. Wild Nature Institute’s scientists are filling this knowledge gap, so wildlife managers can allocate conservation efforts where they are most needed.
It wasn’t all work, however. We got up-close-and-personal with thousands of western white-bearded wildebeests while their world-famous migration of more than a million animals passed through the south-eastern portion of the Serengeti. Migrating Burchell’s zebras and Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles were extremely numerous as well.
_We enjoyed viewing vast flocks of Greater and Lesser Flamingos at Lake Natron – the lake is critical nesting habitat for these beautiful birds. A proposal to build a salt mine was recently stopped, but the lack of permanent protection for Lake Natron remains a grave concern
_We were joined on our trip by two filmmakers and fellow biologists, Sean Bogle and Sarah Chinn. Sean and Sarah assisted us with Giraffe Skin Disease surveys, and are working with WildLens to produce a documentary film about the Wild Nature Institute’s important work on demography of Maasai giraffes and conservation of one of the last remaining ungulate migrations in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem. You can read about the film project at: http://www.wildlensinc.org/projects/Tanzania.html
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
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