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The   Serengeti   Ecosystem


     The Serengeti is an area of grass- and woodland extending approximately 200 miles north-south and 200 miles east-west in an irregular pattern. About 80 percent lies in Tanzania and the rest in Kenya (see map: The Serengeti Migration Route). This ecological system is home to approximately 1.6 million herbivores, 1.2 million of which follow the circular route shown in the migration route map during a one-year cycle. Of course, thousands of predators also live in this area but most of these do not migrate.

     The south-eastern part of the area is open grassland, the northern part largely wooded, and the western region a mix of open and wooded areas. Average annual rainfall varies from 20 inches in the dryer, southern grasslands, to almost 50 inches in the north. Almost all the rain falls in two seasons, a short season (November-December) and a longer one (March-May).

     The Oldupai (usually misspelled Olduvai) Gorge, the rift valley where some of the oldest hominid bones have been found, is part of the Serengeti system.

Large Herbivores Of The Serengeti Ecosystem1



Wildebeest  917,000
Thomson's gazelle   231,790
Zebra  150,830
Grant's gazelle  123,930
Impala  70,650
Topi  41,900
Buffalo  21,000
Eland  11,740
Kongoni  11,120
Giraffe  6,170
Warthog  4,940
Ostrich  4,300
Waterbuck  1,560
Elephant  1,350

1Data from 1994 and 1996.

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