By Richard D. Estes
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Extra resources for The Gnu’s World: Serengeti Wildebeest Ecology and Life History
Tanzania had closed its border with Kenya in 1975 because Kenyan tour companies were profiting from Tanzania’s wildlife and other tourist attractions, with little benefit for Tanzania. The resulting steep drop in tourism and revenue drastically limited imports of goods from Kenya. Butter, flour, eggs, cheese, milk, canned goods, batteries—even toilet paper—were all in short supply. Keeping our Toyota Land Cruiser operational was difficult because of the shortages of fuel and spare parts. 10. Camping with the children and research assistant Marina Botje in Ngorongoro, at Tokitok springs.
From the time I started research in Ngorongoro Crater in 1963 until 1980, the wildebeest was the dominant herbivore, amounting to over half of the 20,000+ ungulates that frequented the 250 km2 Crater floor. Between 1980 and 1986, a period when semiannual counts of Crater game were suspended, the wildebeest population declined to under 9,000. Meanwhile, the buffalo population, represented only by herds of bachelor bulls until 1970, increased to 1,500 by 1980. After counts resumed, this large ruminant continued to multiply, until it replaced the wildebeest as the dominant herbivore.
For instance, the horse (Equidae) and pig (Suidae) families occupy much broader niches and have relatively few species. The bovid design for a particular ecological niche combines size, conformation, feeding apparatus (especially width of muzzle and incisor row), development and complexity of the digestive tract, dispersion pattern, and reproductive system to produce the best fit for a specific niche. , volcanoes, rifting, plate tectonics) kept creating more habitat diversity during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, inserting new niche spaces, which antelopes proceeded to occupy.
The Gnu’s World: Serengeti Wildebeest Ecology and Life History by Richard D. Estes