White-Bearded Wildebeest

The White-Bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus) is a large, horned herbivorous (grass-eating) mammal in the Bovidae family of antelopes and cattle. It is also called the White-Bearded Gnu. It is an ungulate mammal because it is hoofed.

Connos means beard; chaetus means flowing hair; taurinus means bull-like; and albojubatus means white-bearded. This equals ‘bull-like animal with a flowing white beard.’

Continue reading “White-Bearded Wildebeest”

RESEARCH: Kenya’s wildebeest migration is good for the ecosystem

Every year thousands of wildebeest drown or are eaten by crocodiles when they cross Kenya’s Mara river during their annual migration.

The mass annual journey of 1.2 million wildebeest (also known as gnus) from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Mara in Kenya in Africa is the largest mammal migration in the world, and certainly the largest annual mass drowning of wildebeest.

Amanda Subalusky at Yale University has measured the nutrients released into the river ecosystem from the 1100 tonnes of biomass from about 6,200 wildebeest carcasses (dead bodies) that float downstream in the Mara river each year. That includes 100 tonnes of carbon, 25 tonnes of nitrogen and 13 tonnes of phosphorus.

Subalusky says that crocodiles and birds benefit from the carrion (decomposing bodies), particularly vultures.  But the slow release of nutrients benefits everything in the river from fish to insects.

Continue reading “RESEARCH: Kenya’s wildebeest migration is good for the ecosystem”