Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sudan's Breathtaking Migration

No, not the Darfurians making the race for the Chadian border. This one is a positive story.

Scientists believe they have discovered the biggest migration of wild animals on Earth, with an aerial survey revealing vast herds of gazelle and antelope on the move in southern Sudan in a region which had been assumed to have been denuded of its wildlife by years of civil war.

They estimated the population of the white-eared kob - a chestnut coloured and medium-sized antelope - at about 800,000. Add to that other species including the topi and the Mongalla gazelle, and the total number of migratory animals is put at 1.3 million, approaching the scale of one of the world's greatest natural events, the Serengeti migration of wildebeest and zebra across east Africa.

"This could represent the biggest migration of large mammals on Earth," said Michael Fay, a field scientist with the WCS, who conducted the survey. "I have never seen wildlife in such numbers, not even when flying over the mass migrations of the Serengeti."

In addition to the gigantic herds of kob, they produced estimates of 250,000 Mongalla gazelles, a small tan and hite antelope with a black stripe on its flank; 160,000 topi, or tiang, a horned antelope; as well as reedbuck and ostriches.
It always amazes how little we still know about the world. The world's largest migration of mammals on Earth and we are just now finding out about this?

Google Street Maps can give you pictures of every street in major cities, and capture an innocent girl in her underwear, but we have no idea about 1.3 million mammals making a massive migration? (Gotta love that alliteration.) Makes you wonder what else we don't know about.

via Guardian

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