The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Gnu Kids On The Block: Delayed Rains affect Wildebeests’ Calving

Normally the ungulates would be ‘giving birth’ to their offspring at the area around Ndutu, in Northern Ngorongoro, bordering southern section of Serengeti National Park.

Calving starts slowly in December, picks up actively from January and gets more defined by February.

Rain blocked at Seronera?

And while some wildebeests have started calving at the moment, this is reportedly taking place around Seronera, because according to the Tanzania National Parks’ officials, rains have been late to fall in Ndutu, and thus the Gnus are still stuck in the Serengeti.

A young wildebeest calf shortly after being delivered in Serengeti

Still, the year is just starting and January is yet to even complete the first two weeks, which means rains may precipitate anytime from now, thus enabling the wildebeests to maintain their regular calving circle at Ndutu.

Wildebeests give birth to their young ones during this calving season, which takes place during the months of December to March.

There are conflicting figures; some saying over 8000 calves are born, others claiming more than 500,000 new Gnus see the light of the day.

Jungle bellies… all the way

However not all new calves survive in the jungle full of hyenas, lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs.

In fact as the ungulates produce young calves, en-masse, usually the hungry predators gather around the scene ready to snatch the dropping babies to fill their bellies.

From December the wildebeests can be seen around the southern parts of Serengeti national park

Now between 8000 and 500,000 new-borns wildebeests get produced between December and March, in areas striding Northern Ngorongoro and Southern Serengeti.

That is the time when the migration moves further South past Serengeti into the Ndutu plains for their annual reproduction seasons, depending with the rains.

The calving of the Gnus is second biggest attraction within the Serengeti Eco-system.

Mother Wildebeest fighting to save her young from marauding predator

The Ungulates’ annual migration remains the world’s most spectacular wildlife event of the year.

The population of Serengeti Wildebeests is still being estimated at 1.5 million ungulates.

However the idea of conducting fresh animal census aimed at determining the current and actual number of the beasts remains an on and off idea.

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