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Mara River Madness!
Photo Credit: Paul Oliver
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Bovidae
- Genus: Connochaetes
- Species: C. taurinus
The Mara River is a river in Africa, flowing through Kenya and Tanzania, that lies across the migration path of ungulates (hooved mammals, such as these Wildebeest) in the Serengeti/Masai Mara game reserves. The wildebeest, also called the gnu, is an antelope of the genus Connochaetes. Wildebeest is Dutch for “wild beast” or “wild cattle” in Afrikaans (beest = cattle), while Connochaetes derives from the Greek words konnos (“beard”) and khaite (“flowing hair”). The name “gnu” originates from the Khoikhoi name for these animals, “gnou”.
Gnus belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, and other even-toed horned ungulates. Connochaetes includes two species, both native to Africa: the black wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu (C. gnou), and the blue wildebeest, or brindled gnu (C. taurinus, pictured here, and not really blue). Fossil records suggest that these two species diverged about one million years ago resulting in a northern and a southern species. The blue wildebeest changed very little from the ancestor species, while the black wildebeest took on more morphological changes to adapt to a habitat of open grassland in the south. Today there are five subspecies of the blue wildebeest, while the black wildebeest has no living subspecies. In East Africa, the wildebeest is the most abundant big game species, both in population and biomass. Here you can see the incredible numbers their herds may contain.
To share your wildlife photos with the Bush Warriors community, go to our Photo of the Day Contest Facebook page and upload your shots today! All you need to do is upload them onto the wall. Please do not create new albums, but rather upload each photo on its own. Click here to view ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest. Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!
The Bush Warriors Photo of The Day Contest is brought to you in partnership with Creative Visions Foundation. Inspired by the life of Dan Eldon, a young Reuters photojournalist killed in Somalia in 1993, Creative Visions Foundation supports “Creative Activists” who use media and the arts to create positive change in the world.
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