Wildlife

Zebras make ‘longest trek in Africa’

At a time when mankind’s encroachment on habitats is increasingly leading species to extinction, scientists have discovered a mass migration of animals in Africa that reaches farther than any other documented on the continent.

The journey made by about 2 000 zebra who travelled between Namibia and Botswana, two countries in a sparsely populated part of southern Africa, was discovered by wildlife experts only after some of the zebras were collared with tracking devices.

The newfound migration is a rare bright spot at a time when mass movements of wildlife are disappearing because of fencing, land occupation and other human pressures.

The previously unheralded trek occurs within the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which is the size of Sweden and encompasses national parks in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.

The zebra odyssey encompasses a roundtrip journey of 500 kilometres, starting in floodplains near the Namibia-Botswana border at the beginning of the wet season. It follows a route across the Chobe River and ends at the seasonally full waterholes and nutritional grass of Nxai Pan National Park in Botswana. The zebras spend about 10 weeks there before heading back.

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