African History 1: The Serengeti
Today we're learning about the Serengeti, or as you may know it, the setting of The Lion King. Get ready for lions, wildebeests, and tourists. Oh my...
|World History||African History|
The Serengeti Plains are located in the beautiful East African countries of Tanzania and Kenya.
You probably have a pretty good idea of what the plains look like… [Girl thinking of a ballerina in the serengeti]
Either from wildlife documentaries…
Or from the ridiculous number of times your younger sibling made you watch the Lion King.
Did anybody else think it was irresponsible for Rafiki to hold baby Simba over the edge [Rafiki holding Simba over a cliff edge]
of a cliff?
Anyway, even if you already know what the plains look like, you might not know that
the Serengeti's only active volcano, Ol Donyo Lengai, ejects ash that turns into a cement-like [Volcano erupts and people scream]
calcium-rich material when it rains.
So wear a hard hat if you visit.
The Serengeti also has the largest concentration of wildlife of any area in the world. [Cheetah laying in a field]
They’re big plains, so they’re not as crowded as it sounds.
The Serengeti also sets the stage for the world's largest land animal migration. [Zebras migrating]
200,000 zebra, 500,000 gazelles, and 1.2 million wildebeest hoof it across the plains every
year, following the rains.
This, of course, also brings thousands of tourists, who crowd into safari vehicles to [Tourists in a safari vehicle]
get the perfect shot of the passing herds.
There’s actually a good amount of controversy over whether all this tourism is a good thing.
Tourists do create stress on the land, but some of their dollars do also help to protect
the animals they’ve come to see.
Because the safari industry is so profitable, the government and private companies are encouraged [Group of people wearing suits and eyes turn to dollar signs]
protect the land and its animals.
This, of course, sounds great to conservationists.
The thing is that nobody ever really bothered to ask the people who used to live in the [Safari tourists taking photo's of people who used to live in Serengeti]
Serengeti what they thought about it all.
One of Africa’s most famous tribes, the Maasai, gave their native land the name “Serengeti,”
which means “endless plains.”
While it definitely sounds like a good idea to protect an ecological treasure like the [Animals inside the Serengeti]
Serengeti, things get a little more complicated when you find out that the Maasai where forced
to move from their ancestral lands when the Serengeti National Park was established.
The Maasai are traditionally cattle herders and need a lot of land in order for their [Massai man herding cows]
cattle to graze.
And without the plains those cows are getting skinnier and skinnier.
It’s a tricky issue, right?
Protecting beautiful, wild animals seems good, but so does protecting a people’s ancient
way of life.
We don’t pretend to know the right answer, but we do know that the Maasai and the Serengeti
are both worth saving. [Animals and Massai with Batman in the middle]
The only ones who are probably completely happy with the situation are Maasai cows who are
trying to get ready for beach season.