If you haven't heard the details of Hattie's fantastic findings on the regaining of an old zebra migration route that no-one knew had existed, then read this!
Over the last few years Hattie has been observing remarkable behaviour in zebra, and I've found several aspects of her findings and methods quite astounding. This Friday the 11th of March, at 2pm Hattie will be providing a special presentation of her findings for researchers in Botswana, at the Okavango Research Centre. I encourage anyone who is available to come down and listen, with your chance to ask some questions in true seminar style. This will also be another opportunity to meet with other researchers in the same boat. Spaces are very limited, so please RSVP to me at 7507 3881 or return email, or run the risk of being turned back after the long trip out there!
Here is the abstract of the paper which will form the major part of the seminar Hattie will present.
Will reconnecting ecosystems allow long-distance mammal migrations to resume? A case study of a zebra Equus burchelli migration in Botswana H. L. A. BARTLAM-BROOKS, M. C. BONYONGO and STEPHEN HARRIS Abstract: Terrestrial wildlife migrations, once common, are now rare because of ecosystem fragmentation and uncontrolled hunting. Botswana historically contained migratory populations of many species; however, habitat fragmentation, especially by fences, has decreased the number and size of many of these populations. During a study investigating herbivore movement patterns in north-west Botswana we recorded a long-distance zebra (Equus burchelli antiquorum) migration between the Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi grasslands, a round-trip distance of 588 km; 55% of 11 animals collared in the south-eastern peripheral delta made this journey. This was unexpected as, between 1968 and 2004, the migration could not have followed its present course because of bisection of the route by a veterinary cordon fence. As little evidence exists to suggest that large-scale movements by medium-sized herbivores can be restored, it is of significant interest that this migration was established to the present highly directed route within 4 years of the fence being removed. The success of wildlife corridors, currently being advocated as the best way to re-establish ecosystem connectivity, relies on animals utilizing novel areas by moving between the connected areas. Our findings suggest that medium-sized herbivores may be able to re-establish migrations relatively quickly once physical barriers have been removed and that the success of future system linkages could be increased by utilizing past migratory routes.