Hundreds; possibly thousands of Wildebeest found dead in a river in the Serengeti, Tanzania
A vast carpet of the bloated antelope corpses floating on the famous Mara River in Tanzania left experienced safari guides heartbroken.
Tour guides came across the tear-jerking scene this week at the height of Africa’s incredible journey, when two million grass-eating wildebeest and zebra migrate to find fresh pastures.
The Serengeti odyssey is fraught with danger for the herbivores as they are tracked by predators and then have to cross the crocodile-infested Mara.
But in this latest tragedy, hundreds of wildebeest were somehow killed, creating a scene of Biblical devastation, with no known cause.
Africa Geographic, who first reported the carnage, said: “The images can only be described as tear-jerking. The pile of carcasses stretches into the distance and scavenger birds have already started circling the wildebeest.”
The scenes were reminiscent of the huge “animal pile-up” that left 10,000 wildebeest dead in 2007.
On that occasion, the wildebeest chose a river crossing point that was too deep.
The incident was witnessed by conservation worker Terilyn Lemaire who described the grotesque scenes.
“Once they jumped into the water, they were unable to climb up either embankment onto land and, as a result, got swept up by the current and drowned,” said Lemaire who estimated that 2,000 wildebeest drowned at the crossing in a single afternoon.
“There was no unusual flooding at the time, and there seems to be no extraneous circumstances to these deaths. The wildebeest merely chose a crossing point that was too steep.
“It is customary every year for the wildebeest to pick a particularly treacherous crossing point and for there to be a significant die-off, but the number of deaths during these crossings almost never exceeds one thousand.”
Tanzania National Parks issued a statement about the latest disaster, which it says happened during the annual natural phenomenon that sees up two million animals, mostly wildebeest and zebra, moving in “a clockwise rotational route determined by the availability of grazing and water”.The epic migration takes place between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.
“During migration a number of catastrophes occur, including disease, predation and accidents which put the livelihood of migrating animals at high risk,” said the national parks’ statement.
“Drowning in the Mara River is one of the occurrences during the migration in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and it estimated that more than 250,000 wildebeest die during the journey. Other causes of deaths include stampede and other predators.
“However, wildebeest deaths during migration are replenished with more than 350,000 births per year.
“In view of the above, Tanzania National Parks would like to inform the public that the deaths are purely natural and not much could be done to prevent. In the national parks and other protected areas nature is always left to take its own course.”
Courtesy of express.co.uk