Pictures by Alexandra Spyratos:
This is an Eastern White Bearded wildebeest, of which there are once estimated to have been 100,000 in the Athi-Kapiti Ecosystem of which Nairobi National Park is a part…
According to http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/5229/0
there were still 90,000 or so of this Kenyan sub-species of gnu in existence in the late 1990’s.
However, estimates of Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest indicate a steep decline in the subspecies’ populations to a current level of perhaps 6,000-8,000 animals. Apart from NNP, the other haven for this sub-species is the Shompole Conservancy.
For many years now, there have been about 250 individuals in the Park & the fast-dwindling dispersal area to the South.
It has been a dry year in Kajiado generally & especially in the intensively grazed Sheep & Goat Land which these short-grass plain grazers like & many wildebeest have moved into the Park with the rain of recent days.
The fantastic news is that the photographer & I counted 450 individuals, many of them young yearlings: the NNP population is INCREASING & will continue to do so in the future given the massive grazing pressure on the Park nowadays: gone are the days when one had to consider burning the Park to manage the grazing: innumerable buffaloes, zebra, kongoni & cattle are seeing to that: the days of grass as a super-abundant resource are well & truly over…