Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

--------

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less