Serengeti National Park

UNESCO World Heritage

Typical scene of the Great Migration in Serengeti (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The great wildlife sanctuary

Established in 1952, the Serengeti National Park is considered as one of the world’s most famous and significant wildlife sanctuaries, where unparalleled natural beauty and scientific value merge together.

Serengeti Oryx (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Every year, the site witnesses a phenomenal migration event, where over a million of wildebeests, as well as hundreds of other animals like gazelles and zebras, move altogether in search for pasture and rain water.

Maasai Giraffe (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Covering around 14,750km2 of grassland plains, savannah, riverine forest and woodlands, the Serengeti ecosystem is undoubtedly one of the oldest on earth, with potentially unchanged features of climate, vegetation and fauna for over a million years. Due to its outstanding values and unique character, the site was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981 under the criteria (vii) and (x).

Serengeti National Park (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Criterion (vii): The Serengeti plains harbour the largest remaining unaltered animal migration in the world where over one million wildebeest plus hundreds of thousands of other ungulates engage in a 1,000km long annual circular trek spanning the two adjacent countries of Kenya and Tanzania. This spectacular phenomenon takes place in a unique scenic setting of ‘endless plains’: 25,000km2 of treeless expanses of spectacularly flat short grasslands dotted with rocky outcrops (kopjes) interspersed with rivers and woodlands. The Park also hosts one of the largest and most diverse large predator-prey interactions worldwide, providing a particularly impressive aesthetic experience.

Great Migration, Serengeti (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Great Migration of wildebeest

Zebras (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Criterion (x): The remarkable spatial-temporal gradient in abiotic factors such as rainfall, temperature, topography and geology, soils and drainage systems in Serengeti National Park manifests in a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The combination of volcanic soils combined with the ecological impact of the migration results in one of the most productive ecosystems on earth, sustaining the largest number of ungulates and the highest concentration of large predators in the world. The ecosystem supports 2 million wildebeests, 900,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 300,000 zebras as the dominant herds.

Martial eagle (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

There are over 500 species of birds that are perennially or seasonally present in the Park, of which five species are endemic to Tanzania.

Serengeti savannah (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Serengeti National Park is at the heart the larger Serengeti ecosystem, which is defined by the area covered by the annual migration. The property is contiguous with Ngorongoro Conservation Unit, an area of 528,000ha declared a World Heritage Site in 1979. The entire ecosystem also includes the Maswa Game Reserve (2,200km2) in the south, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Reserves in the east, Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya (1,672km2) to the north, and Loliondo Game Controlled Area in the west.

The highest concentration of large predators (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Predators

During the Great Migration, all sorts of predators, also in huge numbers, follow the migrating animals, creating a particularly impressive aesthetic experience and offering a unique and spectacular view.

The lions of the Serengeti (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Major predators include 4,000 lions, 1000 leopards, 225 cheetahs, 3,500 spotted hyenas and 300 wild dogs.

Serengeti Cheetah (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

While species are facing the challenges of going extinct, Serengeti National Park is the hope for these species.

Leopard, Serengeti National Park (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The Leopard Panthera pardus is listed on the IUCN Red List.

Male Agama Lizard (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Biological Diversity

Until the present day, the biological diversity of the site remains clearly noticeable, comprising more than four worldwide threatened animal species such as elephant, wild dog cheetah and rhinoceros.

African elephant (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

The biological diversity of the park is very high with at least four globally threatened or endangered animal species: black rhinoceros, elephant, wild dog, and cheetah.

The endangered black rhino (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Endangered Rhino.

Serengeti landscape (1981) by Serengeti National ParkUNESCO World Heritage

Despite the fact that Serengeti is abundant with wildlife, it has vast unspoiled landscapes that are scenic and spectacular and indeed this is one of the reason it was included as a World Heritage site.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by Tanzania National Parks
www.tanzaniaparks.go.tz

More on the Serengeti National Park and World Heritage:
whc.unesco.org/en/list/156

Photos: Fred Shirima Photography

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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