Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania on Flickr.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera, lies within the area.
A population of approximately 25,000 large animals, largely ungulates along with reputedly the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater. Large animals in the crater include the black rhinoceros, the local population of which declined from about 108 in 1964-66 to between 11-14 in 1995, and the hippopotamus, which is very uncommon in the area. There also are many other ungulates: the wildebeest (7,000 estimated in 1994), the zebra (4,000), the eland, and Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles (3,000).
The crater has the densest known population of lions, numbering 62 in 2001. On the crater rim are leopards, elephants – numbering 42 in 1987 but only 29 in 1992 – mountain reedbuck, and buffalo (4,000 in 1994). In the middle of the crater there is a large lake inhabited by hundreds of flamingoes and from a distance, they appear as a pink border of the lake.
Aside from herds of zebra, gazelle, and wildebeest, the crater is home to the “big five” of rhinoceros, lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. The crater plays host to almost every individual species of wildlife in East Africa, with an estimated 25 000 animals within the crater.