Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Failed Crossing Today

Another 1,500 wildebeest died today in the Mara River.  That brings us up to approximately 5,200 wildebeest dead in the last three days.

Last night, a flood pulse came through the Mara at around 11PM.  This flood came from they upper catchment.  The rising waters of the flood washed many of the wildebeest carcasses further downstream into Tanzania.  The following picture was taken at the Purungat Bridge at around 8AM this morning.

This picture, was taken at the same spot at around 4PM this afternoon.  

There were three large wildebeest crossings today in the southern half of the Mara Triangle.  The first one was between 9AM and 10AM, just downstream of the Serena Lunch Spot.  The crossing consisted of approximately 1,500 wildebeest and every single one of them drowned.  They crossed at a better location than the previous two days but the water was just too high and fast for them to make it across.  As you can see in the following graph, the water was highest today at between 9AM and 10AM.  This was courtesy of the Talek Catchment.  There must have been some heavy rains in the Loita Hills early this morning.  This also ended up causing a crash of the dissolved oxygen in the Mara at the Purungat Bridge.  

A second crossing occurred at approximately 2PM near the Hippo Pool, just North of the Purungat Bridge.  The crossing consisted of several hundred wildebeest and only 4 drowned.  The third crossing happened at approximately 5PM at the same spot.  All survived.  

While we were taking samples and surveying the river today, I tried to count what was left of the original herd that continues to try to cross at the Serena Lunch Spot.  There seemed to be only about 500 wildebeest left, on this side of the river.  The other survivors are somewhere on the other side.  I hope they don't try to cross tomorrow...with the river this high, they don't have a chance.  

I also checked on the wounded mother wildebeest from yesterday, the one who had broken her leg on the rocky bank at the crossing.  She was still alive.  Her young wildebeest son, was no longer there.  I'm guessing he left her there and joined the herd.  

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