Tourists flock into Serengeti to witness wildebeest calving season

February 26, 2013 3:03 am 

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Feb. 26 — Tourists from around the world are currently flocking into the Tanzania's Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) to witness a unique experience of the wildebeest's annual delivering season.

It is estimated that wildebeests deliver new calves in the wilderness of Serengeti plains at the rate of 8,000 newborns per day in this delivering season.

During this month more than 16,500 tourists, among them 5,800 domestic visitors, visited the national park to view the wonders of the wildebeests' calving event. Apart from tourists, the event also attended wildlife researchers and zoological scientists from all over the world.

SENAPA conservator William Mwakilema on Monday described the event as fantastic as it brings people to see miracles in the World Heritage Site of Serengeti.

"It is rather a spectacular sighting because this is the only place on earth where nearly two million large herbivores are ' giving birth' at the same time and in unison, in what is known as synchronized calving," he said.

"What I am seeing here is amazing and despite the pictures taken, many people back home may not exactly believe when I tell them about this important story,"a Belgium tourist Robert Joseph said.

The wildebeests' calving season is expected to last in the next six weeks at the end of which, nearly 500,000 young calves will be born into the Tanzania's second largest national park.

Even more enthralling, according to other tourists who are witnessing the event, the animals do not even have to lie down but can deliver their babies just as they move about.

Also, once the calves drop from the wombs, it only taken two or three minutes before they start hopping about, running after their mothers. Due to that, even more visitors are landing in the Northern Tourist Circuit to get a piece of the adventure.

"Normally, February is a low tourism season but recording nearly 17,000 visitors in just one month, just goes to show how the world's one and only synchronized calving is creating great interest globally," said Paschal Shelutete, public relations manager for the Tanzania National Parks.

According to SENAPA senior park warden, Godson Kimaro, the plains attract over 350,000 tourists every year and peak tourism season is usually between the months of June and September when the north-bound great migration of the same ungulates usually takes place.

But most of the half-a-million newborn wildebeests calves, may not exactly survive the jungle full of hyenas, lions and leopards, not to mention marauding wolves, all of which should be happy to chew the soft and tender bones of the young herbivores.

Seth Mihayo, the Tourism Conservator at SENAPA pointed out that half of the newborn wildebeests are likely to die from predator attacks, drowning into the giant Mara River or simply succumb to the hostile elements that accompany the ungulates 1000 kilometers' annual migration.

"But it is the way of mother nature balancing the ecosystem because the 2010 animals' census indicated that there were 1.5 million wildebeests, which means an increase of 500,000 more ungulates every year could overwhelm the park, therefore nature selection trims them to manageable size," said Mihayo.(PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/JSD

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