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Massive migration: In Sudan, a UMass Amherst student takes part in a startling discovery

In the aerial photos, the lines of migrating animals stretch across the savannas, as far as the eye can see, and farther still. The pictures captured white-eared kob, tiang antelopes, Mongalla gazelles and other animals that have been in parts of Africa for eons.

But until the images were released last month and widely shown on television and in newspapers around the world, no one knew how wildlife in southern Sudan had fared during decades of civil war.

For nearly 25 years, conditions in one of the continent's most tormented regions had simply been too dangerous for anyone to try to find out. And in light of so much human suffering, the fate of the animals had become a far lesser concern.

But their fate did matter to Malik Doka Marjan, a 42-year-old graduate student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Marjan, who arrived on campus last fall, is studying for his doctorate in the department of natural resources conservation.

7/11/07