Gnu Landscapes


One of the most interesting pieces of research ongoing in the Athi-Kapiti (some people call it Kaputiei) ecosystem is the work by Colorado State University on wildebeest migrations.  As we have mentioned before, the collapse of wildebeest populations and the decline of the migration is of great concern to us as it suggests that the National Park is dying. Wildebeest were once the mainstay of the predators diet!

Athi Kapiti Gnu Landscape

Their website has a HUGE amount of information – like the tracks of 12 wildebeest that have been radiocollared. Below is an overview of the tracks of all the collared wildebeest

Wildebeest tracks

What I found really fascinating is the observation that Wildebeest of the Kitengela directly south of the park clearly use the Nairobi Park and the Kitengela. But they do not cross the Namanga road!

Likewise, the animals collared east of the Namanga road, do not move across it but migrate southwards. The Namaga highway is appears to be a major barrier for wildebeest migrations.

Look at the level of detail that these radoi collars provideSotua's tracks

Look at the tracks of this animal collared to the east of the Namanga highway and you will see  what I mean!

Athi Kapiti gnu avoid Kitengela!

Their Athi-Kapiti work

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4 responses to “Gnu Landscapes

  1. Fascinating! In the drought of 2009 1,000 gnu were counted in NNP, but it seems none cross the Namanga Highway, so real dispersal area is bounded by that road. NNP dispersal is those areas north of the Highway.

  2. I have not read the full report, but are wildebeest numbers in NNP greatly reduced as compared to how they used to be? If so, and if they are main (?) prey of lions, would a permanent link along pipeline, and/or a tunnel or overpass to cross Namanga highway, encourage migration of gnu in and out, and more lions within the park as a result?

  3. Judith Rudnai studied lions in NNP/Kitengela in the 1970’s & reported kongoni as main prey of NNP lions. The restriction of kongoni to the park & immediate environs & the current explosion in their numbers might be one reason why the lion population is on the increase.

  4. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, would test this… IE still is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your great writing because of this problem.

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