Wildebeest Calving

By Will Knocker:

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The NNP gnus calve in March & this year is no exception..

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Usually they drop their calves in the Sheep & Goat land, but this year they have calved in the Park proper, perhaps owing to lack of grazing outside as a result of a very hot January/February..

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There are only about one hundred & fifty wildebeest in NNP, so let’s hope it is now that figure + +

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Once one of the most numerous herbivores in the ecosystem, wildebeest numbers are much reduced.

Let’s hope that trend  reverses with these new additions to the population..

 

 

Glorious Biodiversity of NNP

By Will Knocker:

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Malachite kingfisher…

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A mating bull hippo: don’t you love the look on his face? (The cow is completely submerged!)

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Male waterbuck…

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Recently it has been very dry in the Park…

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“Don’t mess with me,buddy!”

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Elegant strider of the plains…the Secretary Bird. There are several breeding pairs in NNP…

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Assemblage of waterfowl at Empakasi dam…

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Bohor reedbuck..

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Downtown Nairobi…..how lucky is this city?

Bustards in NNP

By Will Knocker:

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In the current dry spell, bustards are more visible as the long grass dissipates.

NNP is a haven for at least 4 sp. of bustard (see Bustards category on the menu on the left for more stories.)

This is a male White-bellied bustard..

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And the female (White-bellied)….the loud braying ventriloquial calls of this sp. are a typical sound of the plains.

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Cryptic in her colouring & blending perfectly into her grassland habitat…

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A  male Black-bellied bustard…

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????

The Last Gnus

By Will Knocker:

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C. t. albojubatus (Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest), of which species the IUCN says: ” However, recent population estimates suggest that the future prospect of some subpopulations or subspecies is of some concern, particularly that of the Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest (which, it seems, may have undergone a precipitous decline in numbers).”

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Hope for the future? A yearling (born March 2012)……

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This species was once one of the most numerous herbivores wandering the vast high plains of the Athi Kapiti Ecosystem of which NNP is the last remaining pristine corner: it has been estimated that there were 100,000 at the beginning of the Twentieth century.

Now: “Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest, 94,000 (with about two-thirds in and around protected areas)”, of which we in NNP have about one hundred & fifty individuals (144 counted in February game count).

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‘Our’ gnus tend to live on the rapidly dwindling Sheep & Goat Land between the park & the ever-burgeoning New Town of Kitengela south of the Park, which is heavily grazed short-grass plain habitat. The question must be: will they move into the Park once this last stronghold goes the way of the rest of the ecosystem?

The majority of the gnus in the Athi Kapiti live south of the Athi-Namanga highway, which they cannot cross to get to the Park. These will find it difficult to survive in an increasingly humanised & truncated ecosystem .

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Cows & yearlings in the Athi Basin yesterday…

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Our last few Eastern White-bearded gnus, for whom the Nairobi National Park is their last refuge…..

For more info on on-going research: http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/gnu/nnp.php