28 May 2014

Namibia/Botswana: The longest terrestrial large mammal migration in Africa

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), researchers have discovered the longest-known terrestrial migration of wildlife in Africa. They observed a previously unknown multi-country migration of Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga) taking place entirely within the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) – the world’s largest multi-country conservation area. Over two consecutive years the researchers tracked the movement of zebras back and forth by using GPS collars. The data show that the mammals are making a 500km round-trip between the Chobe River in Namibia and the Nxai Pan National Park in Botswana. Continued long-term research will be needed to confirm that this is an annual and fixed migration, and whether this is genetically coded or passed behaviorally from mothers to offspring. The distance covered by the Burchell’s zebra in the KAZA is greater than that covered by wildebeest (connochaetes taurinus) during their well-known seasonal journey in the Serengeti ecosystem, which is located in north Tanzania and south-western Kenya.

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