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Dr. Richard Estes: Downward trends in Ngorongoro Crater ungulate populations 1986–2005

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Downward trends in Ngorongoro Crater ungulate populations 1986–2005: Conservation concerns and the need for ecological research


R.D. Estes, J.L. Atwood, A.B. Estes


Conservation and Research Center, National Zoo, Smithsonian Institution, 5 Granite St., Peterborough, NH 03458, USA

Department of Environmental Studies, Antioch New England Graduate School, 40 Avon St., Keene, NH 03431, USA

Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

The concentration of over 25,000 ungulates inside Ngorongoro Crater on a 250 km2 patch of the African plains was a major reason for designating the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as a World Heritage Site in 1979. As one of East Africa’s premier tourist attractions, it is also a major source of foreign exchange for Tanzania. This paper reports the decline of populations of wildebeest, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles since the mid-1980s and the rise to dominance of the buffalo, the results of research carried out from 1996 to 2000 on the Crater ungulates, and discusses natural and anthropogenic factors that may be linked to the population changes.

Dr. Richard Estes, (author of The Safari Companion) has given Safaritalk permission to republish his research papers, and this one covers Ngorongoro Crater which many of us have visited. Please find it attached as a PDF file below.




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I'm sitting in the hospital and can't post much but have to say that this is just the best thing for me at the moment. Burying my head in scientific papers, wonderful. Thanks Matt.

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