Serengeti ecosystem is a geographical region of endless plain located in the northern circuit of Tanzania and extending far beyond to south-western part of Kenya country. And the east of Africa between east valley and lake Victoria a high plateau with approximately 30,000 km2 carries a scene of one of the spectacular migration on earth, It comprises parts of the Ngorongoro conservation area in the south; the Serengeti National Park and the adjacent Maswa Game Reserve and other areas in the center, east and west; and the Maasai Mara to the north. Every year hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebras following the rains in search of pasture and water in circular migration which marks the lives of both plants and animals.
The government of Tanzania aware the importance of this great migration and provided official protection to about 17.000kmsq on this endless plain of Serengeti region Hence, Serengeti National Park was born which is a vast of savannah of grass and isolated oldest baobab tree, with heavy amount of rainfall and vegetation is very resistant to gazing so grass cant spring up after the first shower of rains. I know you must have heard about the Great Migration before. Or even watched it on YouTube videos to fuel your curiosity. Whatever you watch or imagine is nothing compared to the real thing, being on the grounds of endless plains in Africa, bearing witness to the largest migration of mammals on the planet. To experience the Great Wildebeest Migration in East Africa is one of the most life-changing experiences to date.
The following are the most incredible facts about the phenomenon Wildebeest migration circle:
1.Largest number of mammal population on the planet.
Every year around a large population of 1.5 to 2 million wildebeest, 350 000 Thompson’s gazelle, 200 000 zebra, eland and other animals in search of grazing and water participate the migration ever occurred on the planets. Every year the wildebeest don’t stay long in one place, after they have gazed all the grass, they tend to migrate again followed the herbivorous who share the same diet covers 3000km in constant wonderings and move to south-western part of Kenya and Maasai Mara. This is greatest fleet/mass movement ever happened in history and you won’t be able to see it anywhere else than Serengeti plains without a start or end, it moves clockwise and it’s a 1,000-kilometer circle.
2. Half a million wildebeest calves are born.
Between January and march during the rainy seasons, one of the most spectacular events takes place. Birth of the new born calves take place just few weeks before 500,000 will give birth at this time of the year hence, approximately 10,000 calves being born every day. The grass is grown with full of nutrients providing the herds with amazing environment to raise their calves hence the mothers are well fed to the end of their pregnancy.They give birth from mid-morning on precise time when predators are resting, later day they learn to stand on their feet before the predator come from hunting. When the calves are capable enough to walk the. They tend to follow their mothers across the savannah. Normally the nutritious placenta is one way of distracting the lions after giving birth to the calves (always catches attention of the predators).
3. Predators feasting on helpless mothers when giving birth to baby calves.
When they are giving birth, they can’t defend themselves so they are much more apprehensive, during this moments the mother can be standing or laying down thus they give birth from mid-morning on precise time when predators are resting, after giving birth there is a bonding between the calves and the rest of the family, the mother tends leave the placentas as far away from the place of giving birth because it catches attention of the Predators. Scavengers descend to where the placentas are, in order to feast giving no time to the vouchers and other birds to eat too. Normally the nutritious placenta is one way of distracting the predators to spring into action after wildebeest giving birth to the calves thus the mother becomes nervous and stops half way of giving birth when the calf hangs out and runs to search for a safer place to give birth away from the attacking predators who hunt them down.
4. Wildebeest baby Calves Run Two Minutes After Being Born.
After the calves are born, they need to stand on their feet before these lions come from hunting. In the span of a few week, half a million newborn wildebeests are added to the endless plains, predator normally target these new calves and their mother, that’s why they have to learn to stand on their own feet few minutes after their born to save their lives, A mother can recognize its calf through sight and sound of it crying among all the other sounds of the herds. Some calves die during the migration circle and some reach the destination with their mothers Also when these calves are lost on the way, the mother has to find them, because there is a greater chance of these calves to die along way when separated from mother or group given that they still need close attention, thus decrease the chance of survival and will be kicked to death by an adult whose on a run.
5. Everyday 4,500 tons of grass are consumed.
Migration is determined and influenced by the rains, between November and December the humidly westerly winds bring the longer waited rains The grass of savannah which during the dry season has it laid dormant quickly soaks up water and the grass grows instantly and transform the landscape of the national park, from the Masai Mara in Kenya where they have spent the dry season, the wildebeest moves south again following the rains. When the Serengeti begin to dry out and the wildebeest continue on their journey, heading towards the western woodlands in search of pasture and water hence, the circle of migration is complete. When these millions of wildebeest get hungry due to a very long journey crossing hundreds of miles of grassland plains, they need a huge amount of nutrients grasslands to feast and keep moving. And its gives us the whole point as to why they migrate, in seek of great pasture and water (Grass)!! In order for them to survive hence they have to eat over 4,500 tons of grass per day.
6. Every year 11,000,000 kilograms of meat is consumed. A large population also means occurrence of many deaths, and for some animals that die on the Serengeti plains becomes food for predators, birds and hyenas. The vouchers of the Serengeti eat 11,000,000 kilograms of meat every year, this gives us a clear picture of the important role they play within the park. One voucher discovers a dead wildebeest animal, in no time thousands of vouchers arrive to feast with their powerful beaks that can break bones in pieces on a dead animal.
7. There’s no Leadership hierarchy.
With over a 1.5 to 2million wildebeest and several hundred thousand zebras and gazelles’ animals, it wouldn’t be easier for them to have a top leader leading this fleet of animals, most studies have proven that Herd kicks off in a circular mass movement of 2million wildebeest, toss in a half million gazelles and a 200,000 zebra happens almost instinctually without a head. The mass movement is not Just a Single Herd they divided in groups too, some run zig zag but their organization is far more complicated than you can imagine. They often split up and head in different directions, and though the general direction but still the migration is predictable, this splitting into small herds groups makes the dramatic on the ground and more complex and exciting thus in this fact they cannot have a leader
8. Migration is not just for the Wildebeests.
These stringy-haired beasts called “gnus,” and they actually fall within the genus of Antelope (even-toed ungulates) under the Bovidae family, which includes cattle and goats and sheep. What you’ll see in Tanzania are all mainly blue wildebeest, but there is a second species of wildebeest are the black wildebeest which is found in southern parts of Africa. The Great Migration as 90% of wildebeest. Think again. In the mix of over 10% are 200,000 zebras and half a million gazelles. They both join the mass movement in search of heavy rains, pasture and water. Some experts discovered that these wildebeest, gazelles and zebras have mutual relationship where zebra, for example, can keep extra eyes on predators to alert the wildebeest, it shows the importance of each other. This means if there is no migration there is no Serengeti.
Great wildebeest migration season
Wonder of Tanzania includes Kilimanjaro mountain, worlds heritage site Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti Savannah plains which is the center of giving birth to wildebeest during migration season which begins after the short rains in
February and March in Ndutu, Southern Serengeti. These wildebeest are neither beautiful nor dramatic but what make them more attractive is the sheer number of wildebeest and the behaviors that form the great migration. The mass can be so attractive that can stretch to the horizon and then begin to drift northwards, drawing with them thousands of zebra and smaller groups of antelope followed by 2 million wildebeest.
By the end of May, the wildebeest are starting to mass in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor. Now gathering numbers, the wildebeest start herding along the pools and channels of the Grumeti River. When the serengeti savannah dries up the herds head Northwards through the Mara river following water and green pastures due to thirst and hunger and exhaustion running all the way thus thirsty predators not to mention Lions, cheeter, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles in the Mara River attacks more than 1000 wildebeest on the run and that crosses the long south to north side, slowly making their way towards Kenya.
In August the herds of wildebeest, zebra, antelopes are spread throughout Maasai Mara and the Serengeti plains as well after having faced the challenge of crossing the Mara River into Kenya. That why you’ll see these herds crossing for hours without breakage in groups to avoids being attacked.
October: After the short rains the herds tends to move from northwards to southward to complete the migration circle. In the early October and November after these short rains and scarcity of pasture and water these herds move down from Kenya to the eastern Serengeti by
December,they tend to scatter towards the southern Serengeti plains. when the year begins in January and February 5000 tons of pasture and rain water is in large amount, hence can feed the herds and this is that time of the year when the birth of the calves take place. The cycle continues hence they slowly move northwards.
Travelling Distance of the wildebeest.
It’s been discovered that the Wildebeest migration moves to about 26,000 square kilometers. Also, with distance of the Serengeti migration is about 600 km. thus 3 million animals travel close to 2 000 km’s every year (an average of 5 km/day) this is the world’s longest record of distance of 35km/hours per day.
Why does the Great Migration occur & why do they Migrate?
The wildebeest tend to migrate around the northern circuit of Serengeti plains, and into the south-western of Maasai Mara for the sole purpose of following the rainfall, pasture and water. From December – March they always begin a fleet of mass movement of wildebeest migration from northern to southern Serengeti area of Ndutu and Grumeti following wherever there is pasture full of water to drink due to their long journey. Whilst we have a great knowledge and deep understanding of where the wildebeest should be at given time of year, it really does depend on where the rain falls hence the herds follow. They generally unreliable but predictable all moving from south then heading to north Serengeti in circular form. This means if there is no migration there is no existence of Serengeti plains.