Not only Men migrate, Animals do too. By Arrey Mbongaya Ivo (2008)
It is not uncommon to hear that many hundreds of people left the Delta region of Ghana in search of more fertile land to farm and graze in Wuripe (Braimoh, 2004) or that farmers are leaving Okavango Delta in North Western Botswana for other places or trades due to a decline in flood recession agriculture caused by the drying of Thaoge; the main distributory of Okavango River (Mbaiwa, 2004).
Such movements are not limited to man but are also a key feature in the lives of animals where in animals usually move from one place to the other to benefit more favourable conditions to their points of migration. However many people have considered these movements as sporadic, unplanned behavioural movements which continuous scientific studies of species suggest the contrary.
Animals migrate for want of a better climate, food, water etc. Some examples include birds and some bats in particular who migrate from wintry areas to warmer places or African antelopes that migrate to avoid the impact of drought (Baher, 1981).
Other factors include a search for breeding grounds like among fur seals, movements in reaction to the phases of the moon as with Anelida or when the living conditions of a place become totally inhabitable like with desert locusts. Such a situation is referred to as an irruption and the movement from such a condition is referred to as an emigration.
Besides the patterns of emigration or migration can be from north to south or east to west depending on species and can be on particular routes or just once in a life time. These movements are usually via paths or patterns referred to as corridors (Baher, 1981).
Other animals including bats and whales have been observed to navigate using echolocation while stellar navigation have also been identified in some bird species as a result of experiments demonstrating that some birds loose their capacity to navigate during foggy nights due to a somewhat lack of bearings with stars.
However an important thing to consider is climate change and its impact on animal migration;
Climate change has led to harsher conditions in the habitats of birds and animals. Places are likely to get hotter, droughts are expected to persist, biodiversity is expected to be lost hence affecting the feeding and reproductive balance of many ecosystems hence more migrations, emigrations and irruptions in the near future.
While the Bali conference (2007) on climate change put some frail framework for the cutting of carbon emissions in the future, more vigorous action is still being advocated by many schools.
Curbing the use of fossil fuels, promoting technologies for renewable energies or nuclear fuels have been suggested but the greatest suggestion might simply be necessary human good will in the form of synergies in the areas of conservation, livelihoods management, project implementation and development aid to especially poor countries with much of the biodiversity likely to migrate from climate change. Good will with a pinch of anenterprise approach may be the chance to take for some conservatives denying the world a chance to move forward.
Copyrights 2008 Arrey Ivo. All rights reserved.
Baher R. R, (1981) The Evolutionary Ecology of Animal Migration (1978); D. J. Aidley, Animal Migration.
Braimoh A K. (2004) SEASONAL MIGRATION AND LAND-USE CHANGE IN GHANA Land Degrad. Develop. 15: 37-47 Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI:10.1002/ldr.588 Received 8 March 2003; Revised 5 September 2003; Accepted 12 September 2003
Mbaiwa J E. (2004) Prospects of Basket Production in Promoting Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in the Okavango Delta, Botswana Int. J. Tourism Res. 6, 221-235 (2004)
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/ jtr.477 Received 10 June 2003; Revised 28 January 2004; Accepted 1 February 2004
N/b Arrey Mbongaya Ivo is founder/Director of the African Centre for Community and Development (www.africancentreforcommunity.com ).
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