Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: It Is Amazing As Wildebeest Deliver Babies in Serengeti

ONCE again the Tanzanian conservation and tourism sectors are witnessing massive delivery of wildebeest babies inside Serengeti National Park (SENAPA).

Around 250,000 wildebeest young calves are scheduled to be born in the park's between February and April. SENAPA officials estimate that the entire world famous park covering 14,763 square kilometres has 1.5 million wildebeests. The wildebeests are now delivering new babies on daily basis at the southern grass land plain of the country's second largest national park which attracts thousands of tourists from different parts of the world.

"The wildebeest are delivering about 8,000 calves every day and we are expecting 250,000 calves in April when they will start moving from this area (the park's grass land plain area) ", said Mr Godson Kimaro, a senior warden at SENAPA. Wildebeest calving season occurs once every year and is one of the unique periods of the great annual migration of wildebeest that has greatly contributed to make the park to remain one of the best top tourist destinations worldwide.

"After being born the wildebeest calves are capable to walk after 3-7 minutes and the wildebeests around walk 1000 kilometres throughout the year with the aim of getting proper food (grass and water)", Mr Kimaro told the 'Daily News' early this week. However a number of wildebeest babies delivered in the park is eaten by lions and hyenas.

SENAPA is estimated to have 3,000 lions and 7,500 hyenas. "It is easy for lions and hyenas to catch and eat wildebeest calves and by so doing the population of wildebeest is reduced and balanced naturally", Mr Kimaro explained. A census conducted in 2010 indicated that the population of wildebeest in the parks stands 1.5 million.

The wildebeests are attracted to stay much longer in areas with sufficient grass as well as receiving plenty rainfall, according to the official. The park's southern grassland plain is popular and an ideal area for wildebeest delivery. Lifespan of a wildebeest is approximately 20 years, according conservators.The great migration also comprises zebras, Thomson gazelle and Eland.

The Tanzania National Park (TANAPA) says the annual migration of animals spent long time in SENAPA before crossing to Maasai Mara Game Reserve in the neighbouring Kenya. "The truth is that the animals spent large part of their life on the Tanzanian side. They stay in SENAPA for less than 10 months every year", Mr Paschal Shelutete, the TANAPA Public Relations Manager said.

SENAPA has also a wide range of resident beautiful animals such us buffalos, elephants, lions, giraffes, black rhinos, hippopotamus, crocodiles and leopards just to a mention a few. "This is (SENAPA) also the only place in the world where wildebeest calves are born and we will keep updating Tanzanians and the world on every step of this year's migration of the animals", Mr Shelutete said.

Hundreds of tourists from different parts of the world have in the recent days been flocking into the park to witness wildebeests calving among other attractions. "This is a fantastic experience. I have been seeing Serengeti on the movie but this is the best nature I have seen in Africa, Mr Robert Joseph, from Belgium told the 'Daily News' on Sunday shortly after touring the park for several days. "I am also pleased with hospitality services, people are friendly. It is my first experience and a good one", added Mr Robert.

The park has received around 17,000 visitors in February alone despite that it is one of the low season months. For many years the park has remained to be one of the country's major tourist destination. It emerged overall winner on the list of the new seventh natural wonders of the world announced in Arusha recently.

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