The gnu migration
Wildebeest cross a river during their migration from the Maasai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The unique event has earned the animals and the two parks a distinction as one of the new wonders of the world. Every year, the wildebeest migrate from the Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, attracting thousands of tourists to witness the rare event in nature.
The new wonders of the world
Yesterday's TV show, which featured a live interview with Kenya Wildlife Service director Julius Kipng'etich, was the culmination of six days during which panelists invited by the channel voted for new wonders of the world.
The new wonders are separate from the conventional Seven Wonders of the World known for centuries and which are classified by Unesco. Coming at a time when the West, including the USA have been issuing travel advisories warning their citizens against traveling to East Africa over alleged security threats, the declaration and exposure during the live broadcast will be a major boost to the tourism industry in Kenya and Tanzania.
How Masaai Mara and wildebeest won award
The panel of experts included an oceanographer, a tour expert, a range and wildlife management expert. The Maasai Mara and Serengeti and the wildebeest migration were selected as one of the new wonders because of what the experts termed as “the uniqueness of the area and the preservation it provides to so many species living in harmony".
The six other new wonders of the world according to ABC are Tibet's Potala Palace, selected for the hope it provides to exiled Tibetans that one day they will return to their homeland; the Old Jerusalem City, which is holy to both Muslims and Christians; the Polar Ice Caps in Iceland for the mixture of cold frozen glaciers and volcanoes; the underwater Hawaiian Island's Monument, a protected underwater coral reef; the Internet - described as a world where anything is possible and the Mayan Pyramids in Cancun, Mexico whose sight was described as breathtaking.
A Million of moving gnu and zebra
In their citation, the panelists said: “More than one million wildebeests, half a million gazelles, and 200,000 zebras constantly on the move - they're all in search of fresh grass and water. Welcome to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara plains in the heart of East Africa - the seventh New Wonder of the World. Covering about 10,000 square miles of land teeming with life, the Serengeti is home not only to some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet, but the start and finish line for one of the world's last great migrations.
"Good Morning America's" expert panel had a spirited debate about the merits of a moveable, natural wonder of the world. “It's one of the great wonders in terms of animal migrations, " said oceanographer and panelist Sylvia Earle. “It's just over the top. "
Wildebeest migration route
Every year, wildebeests, zebras and gazelles roam, pushing ever forward in a clockwise rotation covering the Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania, along the way encountering friends and foes alike. “There's high drama almost the whole time, " said tour guide Mr David Bromham. “If they're not birthing 300,000 calves in the three-week period, they're leaping into rivers for 20 (feet) up. "
Those lucky enough to travel here see wild animals in their purest state. On the East African plains, you'll see lions, elephants, giraffes, and lots of wildebeests. Guide Gerald Selempo told “Good Morning America's Weekend Edition" anchor Kate Snow that area residents had a nickname for the animals.
Over 300,000 gnu births in a space of 3 weeks
Those new babies join their parents, the zebras, and other migratory animals making the turn north and following the rains again, a never-ending circle reminding man of the wonder of life. Kenya Film Commission managing director Wachira Waruru and Mr Ong'ong'a Achieng of the Kenya Tourism Board helped facilitate the filming by ABC.
They won the cooperation of the Narok County Council, and also got the Communications Commission of Kenya to substantially reduce the fees payable by ABC for the live satellite feed from the Mara to the US.
Robert is a tour consultant and co-owner of Landmark Safaris Ltd in Kenya. He is degreed in Tourism management and conservation. More information: http://www.landmarksafaris.com/planner/ Grab your free safari photos: http://www.eastafricasafari.blogspot.com