What makes the Great Migration so great?July 28, 2017
There has been some great, Great Migration action taking place in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem recently.
By this stage, you have probably seen images or footage of this indescribable phenomenon online or in the news. While animal migrations take place all over the world, the wildebeest migration is truly one of the most amazing displays on the planet and attracts travellers from every corner of the earth.
Here are 10 interesting facts why the Great Migration is so great:
1. The Great Migration was officially declared one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa in February 2013.
2. Approximately 1.5 million wildebeest, along with 200,000 zebras and a host of other antelope, take part in the migration.
3. Around 400,00 wildebeest calves are born each year between January and March. Do not underestimate the little ones as they can run alongside their moms within minutes of being born, reaching speeds up to 64 km/h (40 mph).
4. The Great Migration journey is approximately 800 km (500 miles).
5. Most people think that the Great Migration only takes place during July to October. In fact, it is an ongoing event as they travel a circular route through the year. The best time to see the Great Migration in the Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara is between July and October.
6. Not all 1.5 million wildebeest move together. They split into several sub groups called “mega herds.” The smaller, separate groups follow a slightly different path, while still traveling in the same direction as the other herds.
7. Water crossings are one of the most dangerous obstacles for wildebeest. Hippos and Nile crocodiles lay in wait at many river crossings.
8. During the migration, around 250,000 wildebeest fall victim to predators, thirst, hunger, and exhaustion, but recent studies show that it is not in vain and their demise contributes to the balance of the rivers’ ecosystem. The study found that the thousands of corpses contribute the equivalent of more than 1,000 tons of biomass that can feed the Serengeti.
9. There is a natural affinity between wildebeest and zebra and they happily co-exist. Zebras have a very good memory which comes in handy when remembering the course of the migration from past seasons and they are also good predator spotters and will warn wildebeest if a hungry river predator is seen. Wildebeest help the zebras to find water easily as they have an incredible sense of smell and can sniff out the water.
10. There are more than 3,000 lions currently living in the Serengeti ecosystem that follow the migratory herds.
The Great Migration really is great, and everyone should experience this natural phenomenon at least once in their life.
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