Conservation of migratory ungulates in Sudan
Principal, Boma Wildlife Training Centre, Southern Sudan
Wildlife Conservation Society Beinecke African Scholar
Wildlife Conservation Society
The annual movements of white-eared kob (Kobus kob leucotis), tiang (Damaliscus korrigum tiang), and Mongalla gazelles (Gazella thomsonii albonotata) in southeastern Sudan likely comprise one of the largest ungulate migrations in the world. As determined from pre-war studies and surveys some 25 years ago, white-eared kob apparently migrate in a cyclic pattern on the plains below the Boma Plateau covering the area of the Boma National Park, while tiang seem to move between the Nile River and the vast plains in the Jonglei area; migration patterns of Mongalla gazelles are unknown in the area, but the species seems to occur in areas between the kob and tiang migrations. During the 20 years of the civil war which ravaged Southern Sudan, the kob and tiang populations were thought to be severely hunted for food by both the combatants and local people to the extent that their populations may have drastically fallen to levels that put the migrations in danger. However, recent aerial transect surveys suggest that the white-eared kob population may still exceed 800,000, and while tiang may have been reduced from almost 500,000 to 160,000. Mongalla gazelles, which in part of their range numbered almost 66,000, now are estimated to be at least 250,000. Despite these findings, post-war resettlement of about a million people, along with much needed economic development projects, could seriously jeopardize the population of these species.
Effects of the above mentioned factors on the migrations will be studied through aerial surveys and via GPS-collar tracking and documentation of the migration patterns during 2009-2010. Possible barriers to the migrations will be identified and mapped. Satellite-based forage biomass estimates will be used in assessing migrations, population dynamics will be modeled with GIS habitat suitability models, and surveys of the subsistence use of these species by the local communities will contribute directly in developing conservation and management plans for the landscape and the migrations.
Shambaugh, J., Jackson, N., Gylee, R., Oglethorpe, J., Kormos, R., Balmford, A., Hales, J. D., Kanyamibwa, S., Burgess, N., Garnet, T, and Marjan, M.D. 2004. Armed conflict and the African environment. Pages 125-128 in Burgess, N. et. al., eds. Terrestrial Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar : A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington.
Marjan, M.D., I. M. Hashim and H. El Faki. 1995. Economic Aspects of Wildlife in Sudan. Nature et Faune, 11(2): 42-51, FAO, Rome.
Updated: September 2, 2011