In the east of Africa between the Rift Valley and Lake Victoria on a plateau covering an area of 30,000 square kilometers is the scene of one of the most spectacular migrations on earth, Serengeti National Park. Serengeti means endless plain; the plain spread endlessly in this spacious land, the Serengeti Plain is located in Tanzania, it’s a hugeplain estimated to measure 15,000 squarekilometers.Millions of animals live in the wilderness ofthe Serengeti and it is has the largestkingdom of animals on earth.There are millions of diverse wildlife species in Serengeti National Park yet a single species predominates a million and a half strong wildebeests affect the lives of all around them, ungainly in appearance they have been called the clowns of the African plains.
Wildebeests are superbly endowed for a life of endless migration in search of grass and water, alongside an array of other herbivores, they coexist all accommodated by the rich and varied vegetation of the Serengeti, each seeking out a different niche of a food supply. The equation of life on the Serengeti is simple herbivores eat plants carnivores eat the herbivores, majorly the grazers. Lions hunt with both mite and stealth, although the lioness make the kill, it is the much larger male of the pride who eats first, the hungry lionesses and Cubs wait by, second in line are the hyenas and vultures that follow, on the Serengeti nothing is wasted.
Big cats in Serengeti National Park
The dominant species of this plain number more than 2.5 million grazers, the ones that have seized power in this kingdom are the lions; there are about two thousand lions in the Serengeti, the lion is the only one in 35 animals species comprising the cat family that live in a group. Other big cats in the Serengeti include the Leopards and cheetahs.
Lions in Serengeti National Park
One of the reasons lions in Serengeti National Park live in a group is that it helps when raising their offspring; a mother lioness does not only feed its own offspring, they are fed by many lionesses receiving a variety of different antibiotics and this improves immunity, in case the mother dies the grandmother or the aunt takes the mother’s place. Community life is effective for protecting the offspring from predators.
Facts about Lions in Serengeti National Park
- Hyenas are the most dangerous animals to a mother lion with her cubs a moment of not paying attention will give the hyena enough time to snatch a precious baby lion. Generally the survival rate for a lion cub in Serengeti National Park is very low eight out of ten lions die within two years
- Lions in Serengeti National Park divide the food evenly with everyone whether or not they participated in the hunt this is another reason why they live in a group
- Lions are famous for their parental affection,this is seen by the way they spend a long time caressing each other
- Lions are nocturnal animals, they are more comfortable in the evening with sight becoming six times stronger than the human eye they sometimes move more than 10 kilometers over the night too
- A female lion during the mating season picks a male lion in a family that she likes and they go to a cozy place nearby, the couple stays together for three to four days and mates every 20 minutes day and night. To impregnate the female, the male lion attempts to mate 200 times during this period. The hypothesis is that the male lion continues to mate to increase the fertility rate and to prevent other males from impregnating the female
- The intense mating between lions is also influenced by the low survival rate for one offspring that will survive a year the male lion has to mate over 3,000 times
- Hunting is the female lions duty, lions live in a group and to support their community, female lions set up relatively precise strategies, a lion checks the location of its prey and goes about a herd of grants gazelles to find the retreating path then it hides in a secret place, the remaining two lions marched toward their prey and now the psychological warfare between the lion and the prey begins, all the herd will be focused on the two lions coming from the front and right at that moment the lion hiding in the retreating path comes out and attacks the prey, this one is the actual sniper the other two lines are just decoys. All they have to do now is share the food evenly among the pride.
- Male lions are not skillful hunters and instead must depend on the female lions, sometimes male lions steal food from female lions but they do maintain the territory and help females when hunting large animals like buffalo by biting to hold
- During the rainy season in Serengeti National Park when lions have plenty of food, a Lion family shares the food fairly but in the dry season when food is scarce hungry lions sometimes fight over food within the family. The dry season is the toughest season for both mother and offspring, 70% of offsprings starve to death
- The offspring of lions play with each other whenever possible as a process to train their hunting skills the young lions develop hunting skills through aggressive play the offspring are having
- A Male lions in Serengeti National Park that is not the father of certain off springs is a very dangerous enemy, male lions kill offspring that are not their own as soon as they find them. This effort to impregnate the female lion again and force her to have his own offspring, 25% of the death of lion cubs is because of this reason
Leopards of Serengeti National Park
The leopard of Serengeti National Park can run up a tree at a stretch holding prey as heavy as 45 kilograms, leopards have hooked shaped claws and well-developed muscles and they are born tree climbers. leopards in Serengeti National Park devour almost all animals from little birds to giraffes and it does not hesitate to plunder like hyenas, it is the most efficient animal in Africa. The leopard of Serengeti National Park mostly stays above the trees or dark and damp areas and lives by itself therefore there is less chance of being robbed by others. Unlike other cats that worry about their food after hunting, leopards hang their food up in trees that are usually taller than 5 meters and enjoy their food for many days. If the leopard is like a muscular boxer then the cheetah is like an agile runner.
Cheetahs of Serengeti National Park
The cheetah of Serengeti National Park is like an agile runner, unlike the leopard, cheetahs like the wide open plains. Its firmly erect tail shows that it is preparing to hunt therefore balances itself with its tail while running. Running at a speed of 112 km/h, it is the fastest animal on the face of the earth, it can also jump seven meters high in one step but the cheetah must finish a fight within 5.6 kilometers, if it runs longer than that its body temperature will go up to an extreme and it can suffer from oxygen insufficiency. In case it succeeds with its hunt, the cheetah takes its prey to a safe place, the cheetah is a relatively weak animal among the carnivores in the Serengeti, it cannot climb trees and it doesn’t have a strong body, it can only run away when it meets a lion or a hyena. For that reason the cheetah eats as much as it can and as fast as it can as soon as it catches its prey.
A female cheetah hides her offspring in the middle of the plane before coming out to hunt, the cheetah can give birth to three or four offspring at a time and she stays with them through the night but she just visits them for a moment to give them the food during the day. This is to minimize the possibility of being found by lions and hyenas. These will kill the young cheetahs as soon as they find them. The chances of cheetahs surviving longer than six months after birth is less than 50%, most of them are attacked by lions and hyenas so the mother has to watch the surroundings all the time while raising her offspring.
Serengeti Wildebeest Migration
Through the plenty of the wet season the Wildebeest herds grow strong on the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti, in late May drought of coaches imposing a deadly ultimatum migrate or stop for more than two million animals. It is a marathon race against thirst and hunger like living streams and rivers, the herds accompanied by zebras and gazelles flow toward the north and west drawn by the ancient promise of water and grass, the great migration has begun.
The epic journey takes place within the two East African nations of Tanzania and Kenya, the wildebeest herds migrate north toward the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, there they graze for months until the rains resume and herds return again to the southern plain. The migration runs a deadly trek of more than 500 miles. The first weeks of the migration coincide with the the mating season, Bulls engage in constant battles over females and territories, in a few frantic weeks 90% of the cows are impregnated.
Early in the migration northward herds move through the region of ancient granite outcroppings, they are vantage points for waiting predators. There’s neither malice nor remorse on the Serengeti, a hunter kills to eat and to feed its own nothing more. To the migrating herds, wooded Savannah offer refuge in the drought-stricken plain but here the migration becomes an invasion. The Woodlands are permanent home to others yet most of the residents go about their own daily affairs little disturbed by the trespassing multitude. Unlike wildebeests, Masai giraffe do not migrate, they feed on a hundred species of woodland foliage a food supply. Resistant to drought, brevet monkeys find in trees both sustenance and safety. Savannah baboons roam the woodlands and troops roosting in trees by night omnivores feed on almost anything edible, occasionally adult males will even feast on young antelope feeding on grasses adjacent to the woodlands.
Grazers are under an ever watchful eye yet there is one other law even the lion gives respect, the adult elephant. It is one of the few Serengeti animals without an enemy in the wild, protective of their young elephants from extremely close bonds the relationship between mother and daughter lasts up to 50 years.
The herds continues with the epic journey to Masai Mara to reach the most challenging point at the Mara River, every year hundreds of grazers die in thecrossing of the Mara River but the majority reach the northern bank and. Finally after months of migration, the forward herds surge into the bounty that has drawn them north with the rich pastures of Masai Mara in Kenya, once more their instincts have brought them to a place of Plenty, here they will graze for months until the life-giving rains return on the winds of October
The herds are multiply rapidly on the Masai Mara, the storms of October approach and with the return of the rains the herds will resume the great migration towards their ancestral pattern grounds in the south but ahead they will face their greatest challenge. To reach the South the herd must cross the Mara River now swollen by the rain, in these waters it is still the age of dinosaurs and a crocodile reigns supreme.
Many that survived the crocodiles fall prey to the river itself, some drown some are stampede, some are too exhausted to save themselves. Through the year in the course of the great migration, a quarter of a million wildebeests will have died but the migration moves on through the long journey south. Returning finally to the short grass plains with a miracle, the Serengeti unfolds the mass breeding, in the early wet season almost half a million wildebeest calves are born, a strategy that overwhelms predators and ensures the survival of a new generation. To survive in the midst of predators, newborn calves must be able to stand within minutes of birth, those unable to stand must be abandoned. Once more on the plains of the Serengeti, life is more powerful than death and there remains a place on earth where it is still the morning of life and the great herds still run free