Ngorongoro Tour Operators, Tanzania Safari Companies to Ngorongoro

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A population of about 25,000 large animals, largely ungulates along with the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater. These include black rhinoceros, which have declined from about 108 in 1964-66 to between 11-14 in 1995, and hippopotamus which are very uncommon in the area. There are also many other ungulates: wildebeest (7,000 estimated in 1994), zebra (4,000), eland, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles (3,000). The crater has the densest known population of lion numbering 62 in 2001. On the crater rim are leopard, elephant numbering 42 in 1987 but only 29 in 1992, mountain reedbuck and buffalo (4,000 in 1994). However, since the 1980s the crater’s wildebeest population has fallen by a quarter to about 19,000 and the numbers of eland and Thomson’s gazelle have also declined while buffalos increased greatly, probably due to the long prevention of fire which favors high fibrous grasses over shorter less fibrous types.

In summer enormous numbers of Serengeti migrants pass through the plains of the reserve, including 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra and 470,000 gazelles. Waterbuck mainly occur mainly near Lerai Forest; servals occur widely in the crater and on the plains to the west. Common in the reserve are lion, hartebeest, spotted hyena and jackal. Cheetah, though common in the reserve, are scarce in the crater itself. Wild dog has recently disappeared from the crater and may have declined elsewhere in the Conservation Area as well.