Human overpopulation is threatening iconic animals in the Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks as wildebeest, zebra and gazelles struggle against the surge of people

Iconic animals such as wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles are being threatened by a rapidly growing human population around world famous national parks.

The borders of the Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks are seeing human numbers soar while the amount of animals is plummeting.

As a result of human interference in these vast natural areas, the entire ecosystem is at risk of collapse.

Scientists looked at 40 years of data and found that some boundary areas have seen a 400 per cent increase in human population over the past decade while larger wildlife species in key areas of Kenya have declined by more than 75 per cent.

Population growth and an influx of livestock in park buffer zones is believed to have squeezed the area available for migration.

As a result animals graze on less nutritious grasses than they did in the past and there are less natural fires in these areas.

This could make the ecosystem less resilient to drought or further climate change, the scientists warn.

The Serengeti-Mara spans across Tanzania and Kenya and is the focus of mass migrations.

Every year a million wildebeest, half a million gazelle and 200,000 zebra make the perilous trek from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya to search for water and grazing land.

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