Quantcast

Researchers Discover African Zebras Log World's Longest-Known Terrestrial Migration

Scientists have just discovered the longest-known terrestrial migration of wildlife in Africa—up to several thousand zebra traveling a distance of more than 300 miles (500 km)—according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Equus burchelli Burchell's zebra migration on the plains with a thunderstorm in the background. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon

Using GPS collars on eight adult zebras, WWF and collaborators, including Elephants Without Borders, tracked two consecutive years of movement by the herds—from the Chobe River in Namibia to Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park and back, a straight-line distance of 250 km. The findings are detailed in a new study published in the journal Oryx.

Physical barriers such as conservation fences have imperiled migrations of a diverse range of species in other parts of Africa and around the world.

“This unexpected discovery of endurance in an age dominated by humans, where we think we know most everything about the natural world, underscores the importance of continued science and research for conservation” said Dr. Robin Naidoo, senior conservation scientist at WWF.

Equus burchelli Burchell's zebra On alert as they watch lions. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon

“At a time when conservation news is inherently rather negative, the discovery of this unknown natural phenomenon should resonate with people around the world,” said Dr. Mike Chase, Elephants Without Border’s founder. “The government’s commitment to secure key migratory corridors serves to underpin the growing wildlife tourism industry. We plan to continue monitoring the migration to try and conserve such increasingly rare natural events.”

Continued long-term research will be needed to confirm that this is an annual and fixed migration, says WWF, as well as whether this is genetically coded or behavior passed from mothers to offspring.

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Species Are Going Extinct 1,000 Time Faster Because of Humans

Top 10 New Species for 2014

Loss of Large Wildlife Leads to Increased Disease Risk in Humans

--------

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wesley Martinez Da Costa / EyeEm / Getty Images

By David R. Montgomery

Would it sound too good to be true if I was to say that there was a simple, profitable and underused agricultural method to help feed everybody, cool the planet, and revitalize rural America? I used to think so, until I started visiting farmers who are restoring fertility to their land, stashing a lot of carbon in their soil, and returning healthy profitability to family farms. Now I've come to see how restoring soil health would prove as good for farmers and rural economies as it would for the environment.

Read More Show Less
skaman306 / Moment / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tinnakorn Jorruang / iStock / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The budding research on cannabidiol, or CBD, attracts a great deal of interest in the agricultural field.

Read More Show Less
Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less