1 Tahrcountry Musings: Parthenium Threat to Serengeti

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Parthenium Threat to Serengeti

Masai Mara ecosystem in Africa which witnesses the largest wildlife migration known to man, every year, is under threat from the noxious weed Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus). If left unchecked it will affect 5 million wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelle and 200,000 zebra. Serengeti boasts 70 large mammal species and some 500 different bird species

The new threat compounds problems from existing illegal hunting, land conversion, and fencing. Parthenium can grow from seed to maturity in 4-6 weeks and has an ability to produce 10,000–25,000 seeds. It produces chemicals which inhibit the growth of other plants. If left unchecked it can reduce carrying capacities of habitats of grazing animals by up to 90%. 

Geoffrey Howard, IUCN’s Global Invasive Species Programme Coordinator saysUnless action is taken immediately to eradicate known infestations in the Masai-Mara it is not unrealistic to expect a drastic reduction in wildlife populations in the long term as the parthenium rapidly expands as an invading species,”
IUCN has urged international community to work together in support of the Kenyan government. This national and global treasure has to be conserved for our children's grand-children. Time to act is NOW.

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