The Wildebeest Migration: Part 2

In groups, the wildebeests plunge into the water and run without looking back. With jaws wide open, crocodiles, having targeted the weak among the herd, grasp and choke a couple of them. The fighting and struggling taking place within the waters is captivating.  Some wildebeest even drown as they are trampled on by there kind. Crossing the river alive is a sign of relief  for those that manage to.The calf fortunately survived,  although some of his age mates did not make it.

wildebeest migration 5 Come Experience The Great Wildebeest Migration

On the other side of the bank , the predators get ready for there turn, having also targeted the weak ones, probably those that were injured or fully exhausted. The predators (lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena) ambush the herd, each with their own different tactics, ensuring that the annual feast doesn’t by-pass them. A lioness watches as her pride drive a panicked wildebeest towards her.( By cooperating in this and other ways, the lioness are able to lay effective ambushes and they may even succeed in killing two animals in one ambush.) This season, the pride was able to bring down seven wildebeest in one attack.

After a long days work from the predators, vultures, soaring with their long broad wings on thermal – rising warm air currents are on the look out for carcasses left by the hunters. Eating someone else’s leftovers is often less dangerous than catching your own food. Vultures superbly survive having easily acquired a meal.

Spotted Hyenas chasing vultures off kill

More than 45000 thousand wildebeest die during the migration.

Reason for migrating

Q. Why do the wildebeest have to make this hazardous yearly journey from Masai Mara to the Serengeti even though the Masai Mara has sufficient food all year?

A. The Serengeti grass grows on soil rich in phosphorous, a mineral vital to the formation of strong bones in the calves. When they are born, in the middle of the wet season, the grass is rich in and lush, enriching the mothers’ milk and giving the calves a better start than they would have had on the the Masai Mara. In the dry season, the grass dies and the herd returns to the Masai Mara.

Wildebeest in the Serengeti, Tanzania

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