Zebras Return to Tanzanian Highlands After Nearly 50 Years

October 19, 2018

Watch as zebras are re-introduced into Tanzania’s Kitulo National Park in the Southern Highlands region, part of a bold effort to re-wild this once pristine landscape.

Half a century ago, zebras were hunted to extinction or otherwise removed from this area for state-run sheep ranching and dairy farming, which have since been abandoned.

WCS, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) released the video, which shows the group of 16 adult/subadult females, six adult/subadult males, and two juvenile males that were translocated from Mikumi National Park some 700 kilometers (434 miles) away in eastern Tanzania.

Photo Credit: ©Tim Davenport/WCS

“It was thrilling to see the zebras moving across the plateau as they had for untold centuries," said Dr. Tim Davenport, Director of WCS Tanzania Program, who first conceived the re-wilding project in the early 2000s and who designed the re-introduction. “This collaboration proves that we can restore wildlife in once degraded landscapes—provided there is political will and good science behind these efforts.”

Four of the animals have been equipped with satellite collars so conservationists can track their movements in real time.

“Some people were skeptical but we achieved it," said lead TANAPA veterinarian Dr. Emmanuel Macha. “It is great to see zebra once again enjoying this beautiful landscape. Perhaps we can reintroduce impala, waterbuck, or eland next.”

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