Drowned wildebeest help other Kenyan animals


This video says about itself:

AMAZING FOOTAGE OF WILDEBEEST CROSSING THE MARA RIVER

28 January 2011

They had wanted to cross all day, and by 5-o-clock PM they finally did.

From the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in the USA:

Wildebeest feast: Mass drownings fuel the Mara River ecosystem

June 19, 2017

(Millbrook, NY) Each year, more than a million wildebeest migrate through Africa’s Serengeti Mara Ecosystem. While crossing the Kenyan reach of the Mara River, thousands perish. A new study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to reveal how wildebeest drownings impact the ecology of the iconic river.

Amanda Subalusky, a Postdoctoral Associate at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, is the paper’s lead author. She conducted the work while a graduate student at Yale University. Subalusky explains, “The Mara River intersects one of the largest overland migrations in the world. During peak migration, the wildebeest cross the Mara River multiple times, sometimes resulting in drownings of hundreds or thousands of wildebeest. Our study is the first to quantify these mass drownings and study how they impact river life.”

The research team conducted five years of field surveys and analyzed a decade of historical reports from the Mara Conservancy to determine the rate and frequency of wildebeest drownings in the Mara River’s Kenyan reach. On average, 6,200 wildebeest – representing 1,100 tons of biomass – succumb each year during migration, with mass drownings occurring in 13 of the last 15 years (2001-2015).

Co-author Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute, notes, “To put this in perspective, it’s the equivalent of adding ten blue whale carcasses to the moderately-sized Mara River each year. This dramatic subsidy delivers terrestrial nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon to the river’s food web. First, fish and scavengers feast on soft tissues, then wildebeest bones slowly release nutrients into the system – feeding algae and influencing the food web on decadal scales.”

To reveal the fate of wildebeest carcasses, the researchers modeled in-stream consumption by fish and Nile crocodiles, scavenging by birds, nutrient uptake, and downstream transport. Stable isotope analyses of common fishes, camera monitoring of scavengers, and stable isotope analyses of biofilms (a mix of bacteria, fungi, and algae) on wildebeest bones all informed the fate of wildebeest nutrient inputs.

While wildebeest soft tissue decomposes in 2-10 weeks, their bones persist for upwards of seven years, acting as a long-term source of phosphorus. Rosi explains, “Mass drownings present a striking picture. Rotting animal flesh spikes the aquatic ecosystem with nutrients. But once carcasses disappear, bones – which make up nearly half of biomass inputs – continue to feed the river.”

When wildebeest carcasses were present, they comprised 34-50% of the diet of common fish. The most frequent terrestrial scavengers on carcasses were Marabou storks, white-backed vultures, Rüppell’s vultures, and hooded vultures, consuming 6-9% of soft tissues. Biofilms on wildebeest bones had a distinct isotopic signature, and made up 7-24% of the diet of three common fish species months after drowning events. Due to low metabolic rates, Nile crocodiles were estimated to eat just 2% of total carcass inputs.

Co-author David Post, an aquatic ecologist at Yale University, comments, “The Mara River is one of the last places on Earth left to study how the drowning of large migratory animals influences aquatic ecosystems. Many migratory herds, like bison, quagga, and springbok have been driven to extinction or remnant populations.”

With Subalusky adding, “The migration is currently underway in the Mara, having arrived early this year. What is happening there is window into the past, when large migratory herds were free to roam the landscape, and drownings likely played an important role in rivers throughout the world.”

See also here.

Ecocide: Catastrophic dam in Ethiopia to wipe out Unique Cultures


This video from Kenya says about itself:

20 April 2012

Many Kenyan residents say the Gibe III dam project, located along the Omo River, will have a negative impact on their environment. VOA‘s Vincent Makori reports and talks to Ikal Angelei, founder of Friends of Lake Turkana Kenya, 2012, Goldman, Environmental Prize Winner.

The Free

5939243629_8f1991e0de_bOne of the most controversial dams in history has been  inaugurated. The Gibe III dam has put an end to the natural flooding of Ethiopia’s Omo River, on which 100,000 indigenous people depend and a further 100,000 rely indirectly. Experts have warned that this could also mean the end for Lake Turkana in Kenya – the world’s largest desert lake – and disaster for the 300,000 tribespeople living along its shores.descarga-1

The dam was built by Italian engineering giant Salini Impregilo, against which Survival has filed a formal complaint that is still ongoing. Plans are now underway to build the Gibe IV and Gibe V dams downriver.

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Widowbirds jumping, video


This video from Kenya says about itself:

2 December 2016

The Widowbird is a master jumper, but which male can jump the highest and for the longest amount of time? This clip was taken from the Grasslands episode of Planet Earth II.

A BBC Studios Natural History Unit production, co-produced with BBC America, ZDF, Tencent and France Télévisions.

Elephants in Kenya video


This video from Kenya says about itself:

17 November 2016

Visiting Ol Pejeta in the rainy season is a lot of fun! It is a time of plenty for the animals and when the rain stops and the sun comes out, everything glistens and shines! Join us as we drive through the mud and watch male elephants challenging each other for females.

THESE PHOTOGRAPHS SHOW KENYAN TRIBES’ EFFORTS TO SAVE THE ELEPHANTS “We take care of the elephants, and the elephants are taking care of us.” [HuffPost]

Baboons in Kenya, video


This video from Kenya says about itself:

10 October 2016

The Tyack family are back on safari on Ol Pejeta Conservancy and have an interesting encounter with a troop of baboons.

African elephant orphans in Kenya


This video says about itself:

6 October 2016

In the Samburu Conservancy a tuskless matriarch elephant shows kindness towards young orphan elephants that are trying to find their way in the Kenyan bush.