Serengeti National Park - 100 Wonders of the World

This series of blog posts is based on the book 100 Wonders of the World by Michael Hoffman and Alexander Krings.

The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in Serengeti area, Tanzania. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one million and a half white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 200,000 zebra.

The Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains which they knew as “endless plain” for over 200 years when the first European explorers visited the area. The name Serengeti is an approximation of the word used by the Maasai to describe the area.

German geographer and explorer Dr. Oscar Baumann entered the area in 1892. Baumann killed three rhinos during a stay in the Ngorongoro crater. The first Briton to enter the Serengeti, Stewart Edward White, recorded his explorations in the northern Serengeti in 1913. Stewart returned to the Serengeti in the 1920s, and camped in the area around Seronera for three months. During this time he and his companions shot 50 lions.

Because the hunting of lions made them so scarce, the British decided to make a partial Game Reserve of 800 acres (3.2 km2) in the area in 1921 and a full one in 1929. These actions became the basis for Serengeti National Park, which was established in 1951.

The Serengeti gained more fame after the initial work of Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael in the 1950s. Together they produced the book and film Serengeti Shall Not Die, widely recognized as one of the most important early pieces of nature conservation documentary.

As well as the migration of ungulates, the park is well known for its healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the "Big Five", named for the five most prized trophies taken by hunters:

- Lion: the Serengeti is believed to hold the largest population of lions in Africa, due in part to the abundance of prey species

- Leopard: these reclusive predators are commonly seen in the Seronera region

- Elephant: the herds are recovering from population lows in the 1980s caused by poaching, and are largely located in the northern regions of the park

- Black Rhinoceros: mainly found around the kopjes in the centre of the park, very few individuals remain due to rampant poaching

- African Buffalo: still abundant, but numbers have been reduced due to disease

Serengeti National Park. Wikipedia.

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