Fences a major concern for terrestrial animal migrations

A terrible way to die.  The hoof of a white-bearded wildebeest, caught in the top rung of a fenceline. Photo credit: G. Hopcraft.

I’ve continued to monitor the trends across the landscapes I studied during my graduate research.  Across the Maasai Mara, fencing has always been a major concern.  But, to see how quickly fencing has expanded across the region is startling.  More and more animals are being recorded as being caught in fences by local partners, tour operators, and tourists themselves.  Just this past week, one of my collaborators took this photograph in the Mara of a dead wildebeest that got caught in a fence.  Others are being reported as starving to death, simply because they have no where to go.

We’re currently working with partners to evaluate the extent of the fence expansion by using the available satellite record.  We then will compare how animals are responding to these barriers by analyzing the GPS data we’ve been collecting.  In doing so, we hope to identify important corridors so that we can work with the local people and keep important areas open to facilitate animal movement.

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