After 6 months of good rain, the migratory species of grazers in our ecosystem are coming back to the Park through the Athi Basin: the last corridor open to the rapidly diminishing & humanised ‘dispersal area’ outside the park on the short-grass plains.
For the lions, it has been a difficult ‘hunger period’, with their chief prey species,plains zebra, outside of the park. We have lost several yearling cubs which wandered out of the park looking for prey: 2 of these were killed on a cattle-kill in the Kitengela area. But now the lions should be happy & the zebra safe in the park. Meat poaching is common outside the park & it is rumoured that there is a Chinese contract out on zebra skins….
Zebras have got to take the “Designer’s Prize’ for Best Dressed species: each individual has a unique design of stripes!
Zebra are always on the move, looking for grass & water. At this time of year they aggregate in big mobs to undertake long journeys safe in large numbers. Here they stop to drink at waterhole on their way to the west of the park, where several hundred have already arrived.
Plains zebra on the move…..
NNP has about 4000 in the park & wider ecosystem.
Zebra in the Athi Basin -the conduit of the migration.
The ocean of grass in the park has been reduced a little by the large numbers of buffalo resident. Together with the zebra, these 2 sp. are able to manage the rangeland by grazing, making it more palatable & attractive for short grass specialists such as wildebeest & gazelles.
Long may our big herd of wild equines gallop across the plains of Nairobi National Park: their last refuge, surrounded by 4 million people!