Ngorongoro Wildlife. Tanzania – Part 4

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Approximately three million years ago in the northern region of what is today Tanzania, the Ngorongoro volcano became inactive. As its internal pressure diminished so its immense central bulk caved in creating the largest volcanic crater on our planet.
The conditions of this land, whereby the crater’s slopes protected it from the outside world, were perfect for wildebeest, elephants, buffalo, flamingos, cranes and a whole host of other creatures… And the once uninhabited and desolate Ngorongoro crater filled with life.

The landscape has radically changed since then and today the Ngorongoro crater harbours numerous ecosystems.
The biological diversity within its interior makes the Ngorongoro crater a unique and remarkable wildlife sanctuary …

Three families of lions live in Ngorongoro. Their interaction with lion populations from the outside is almost non-existent and inbreeding is frequent. Genetic diversity has reduced by 40% compared to that in the neighbouring Serengeti and the reduction in the number of cubs in each litter is beginning to seem indicative of a an increasing weakness of the species.
Only adult male elephants live in Ngorongoro, the crater lacking sufficient vegetation to feed the large herds made up of females and their offspring.

Another species that goes back a long way here in the crater, and which is impervious to the daily struggles between predators and prey, is man. Some 10,000 years ago the stone-bowl people lived off these lands. Then came the Mblu and, after them, the Datoga.
The Masai, who are the current inhabitants of the crater, expelled the Datoga and maintain numerous quarrels with these people even today. They refer to the Datoga as the “strong enemy”.

The abundance of life and water in Ngorongoro never fail to surprise visitors to the old volcano. The mountains that have so jealously guarded the secret of this crater, hiding it away and caring for its climate, have made it a unique enclave in Africa. The large bovid herds, the flamingos, the black rhinoceroses and the elephants enjoy a bonanza without equal in the rest of East Africa.
The days when the Ngorongoro volcano spewed its furious rivers of burning lava from the bowels of the earth are well gone and, today, the crater, together with the Lengai volcano -the Masai God’s Mountain- offers us a picture of a little piece of paradise.

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