Magazine article World Watch

Sudanese Wildlife Migration Defies Odds, Rivals Serengeti

Magazine article World Watch

Sudanese Wildlife Migration Defies Odds, Rivals Serengeti

Article excerpt

Despite 25 years of civil war, significant wildlife populations have survived and flourished in southern Sudan, according to a recent aerial survey of the area conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the regional government. "I have never seen wildlife in such numbers, not even when flying over the mass migrations of the Serengeti," observed J. Michael Fay, a WCS scientist who conducted the surveys. "This could represent the biggest migration of large mammals on Earth."

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From the 1960s through the early 1980s, WCS's predecessor organization, the New York Zoological Society, helped establish the Boma National Park in southern Sudan and supported pioneering work on the migration and breeding of the white-eared kob, a type of antelope. WCS was forced to halt these and other efforts in the region when civil war broke out in 1983. But the recent discovery of large remaining wildlife populations has led the group to re-launch conservation activities in the area.

Civil war can devastate wildlife populations as combatants use wild game as a source of food and as poachers capture animals for bush meat, the ivory trade, and other black market activities. Southern Sudan, an area of grasslands, woodlands, and swamps that is larger than Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda combined, was home to extensive wildlife prior to the war. The recent WCS survey revealed the continued presence of elephants, ostriches, lions, leopards, hippos, buffalos, and spotted oryx, as well as an estimated 1. …

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