Increased human activity around one of Africa’s most iconic ecosystems is ‘squeezing the wildlife in its core’, damaging habitation and disrupting the migration routes of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, an international study has concluded.

The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the largest and most protected ecosystems on Earth, spanning 40,000 square kilometres and taking in the Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve in East Africa.

Every year a million wildebeest, half a million gazelle and 200,000 zebra make the perilous trek from the Serengeti national park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya in their search for water and grazing land.

Now, an international team of scientists have discovered that increased human activity along the boundaries is having a detrimental impact on plants, animals, and soils.

The findings are published in the journal Science.

The study looked at 40 years of data, and revealed that some boundary areas have seen a 400 per cent increase in human population over the past decade, while larger wildlife species in key areas in Kenya have declined by more than 75 per cent.

Read more at University of York