Wildlife of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA)

Posted in Africa | July 27, 2010 | Comment Now


The NCA is a conservation area and is also a UNESCO world heritage Site. NCA is located 180 km to the west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands in Tanzania.

About NCA:

This historical site is carefully looked after by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority. It is a branch of the Government of Tanzania.

The Ngorongoro Crater is a huge, still intact volcanic caldera. A caldera is a large crater from by a destructive explosion of a volcano which collapses in the depression. This crater lies within the conservation area.

Ngorongoro crater:

The crater and the area surrounding it are all part of conservation area. Even local tribes continue to exist besides the huge population of animals. They continue to lead their traditional lifestyles.

The vast crater in the NCA is the world’s largest volcanic caldera which is 265 square meters in length and 600 meters deep. The nutritious rich soil supports this microcosm of the African animal kingdom. The high walls of the crater keep the area moist and cool and the springs provide water round the year.

Wildlife in the Crater:

Huge populations of roughly twenty five thousand animals live in the large crater. These include the biggest gathering of predators in the whole of Africa. The best attraction of the crater is the rare black rhinoceros. The population of this large animal took a downturn from 108 to 11 in 1995 over a period of forty years.

Rare sights and lions galore:

The hippopotamus is an uncommon animal found in this region. Other animals found in the region are the wildebeest, the zebra, the eland and Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles. The region is witness to the largest population of Lions. There were 62 lions in the crater region in 2001.

Decline in population:

Towards the rim of the crater you can find leopards and elephants. The number of elephants has reduced to 29 from 42 in 1992 only in a gap of few years. The mountain reedbuck and the buffalo are also well placed in this conservation area.

Since 1980s the population of the wildebeest in the crater has fallen to 19,000. A wildebeest is a huge antelope. The population of the eland and Thomson’s gazelle has also declined over the years. The numbers of buffalo however have swelled in the recent years. This could be because of the prevention of fire which allows the buffalo access to the high fibrous grasses.

Animals of the Serengeti:

During the summer months huge numbers of Serengeti migrating animals like a million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra and 470,000 gazelles pass through the reserve plains of the Crater. One can see waterbucks mainly near the Lerai forest. Towards the plains in the west and in the crater one can see the servals. A serval is an African wild cat. Jackals, spotted hyenas, hartebeest, and lions are common sights in the reserve. Hartebeest is grassland antelope.

Cheetahs are common but less in number in the crater. The animal which has completely disappeared from the crater is the African wild dog.

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