Every December, approximately 1.2 million wildebeest begin a journey across Africa’s Serengeti ecosystem, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebras. It’s a monumental quest for greener pastures, but one that is becoming increasingly more difficult as climate conditions change and the region’s natural balance gets thrown into limbo.
The largest mammal migration in the world is under threat from human development and farming that is affecting, amongst other things, Kenya’s Mau Forest and in turn the Mara River that the migrating beasts depend on. Drought is becoming more common and more severe, affecting water levels. The human influence is also seen in the introduction of foreign vegetation like devil’s weed, an invasive, non-edible plant species that is used to spruce up tourist lodges in the Masai Mara Natural Reserve but is now running rampant across the Serengeti. To top all of this off, the Great Migration’s increasingly malnourished participants are becoming easy targets for predators like crocodiles and lions.
One animal’s migration becomes another’s buffet, and as the Serengeti continues to fight constant outside environmental threats it’s becoming more likely that this buffet may soon have a ‘closed’ sign in its window.
Story by Jay Moon