Drought blamed for early migration of African wildebeest

Nov. 27, 2013 at 8:11 PM
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NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Kenya say thousands of wildebeest have returned months early from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, a move they say is rare.

The animals, which migrated from Kenya to Tanzania in September, were not expected to return until April, and officials pointed to drought in Tanzania as a possible reason for the early timing of the annual return migration.

Nicholas Murero, coordinator for Kenya's Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, told the BBC the early movement back was something he and his colleagues had never experienced before.

Lack of pasture in Tanzania because of the drought was the likely cause of the premature move north back to Kenya by the wildebeest, he said.

"They look very thin," he said.

Tourists from around the world flock to Africa to witness the spectacle of more than a million wildebeest making their annual migrations between the Seregenti National Park in Tanzania and Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve.

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