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15.07.2016 19:53 Age: 4 yrs
Category: Safari/Adventure

Great Wildlife Wildebeest Migration

The Maasai Mara gained fame as a result of the annual wildebeest migration. Below is a write up about the phenomenon.

NOTE: This whole phenomenon has been graded to be among the Seven Wonders of the world.

The wildebeest is an antelope that is not beautiful by any standards. It is absurd looking animal in the sense that it looks like a "Giant walking with the limbs of a mosquito" Its body is supported by spindly legs and has a complexion of a long narrow head with bearded throat and shaggy mane. They run jerkily while kicking their hind legs in the air and to ensure that the intruder is not near them they stop as if they demand an explanation as to why they are disturbed. They again break into another run now to a safer place for grazing. They resemble robots in their behaviour, look like they are assembled from spare parts hence they are very interesting to watch.

The Wildebeests always have a tendency of spending the earlier part of the year feasting on the Southern part of Serengeti in Tanzania and after realizing that the Serengeti grass is cropped to its roots and water is drying up, they funnily raise their heads, sniff the air as if communicating with the mother nature, they draw a conclusion that famine is looming. This therefore calls for action for survival. Towards the end of June, thousands upon thousands will be on the March transversing the Serengeti Plain heading towards Maasai Mara in Kenya. Like iron fillings being drawn towards magnet, the herds join long column from all directions. Here the over 1 million wildebeests and about 200,000 Zebras, Thompson Gazelles, Elands etc all with one purpose of reaching the sweet grass across. There are several side-shows during the journey, these include cows calving on the way with very high mortality rate, bulls fight, predators attacking the sickly, the stray and the laggards cannot keep the pace, the scavengers hovering around in great numbers and having good time. This is the world's greatest phenomenon known to Mankind.

By early July, the herds have a massed several crossing points along the swollen Mara River but with several barriers across. Along the river bank they snort and grunt before one brave wildebeests gathers the courage of plunging into the swollen river as if pushed from behind by some irresistible force, others follow and lunge towards the fast moving midway waters below. Here, each beast for itself, survival for the fittest and God for them all. Many are drugged underwater by the hungry reptiles; others are trampled by their mates to drown into the muddy waters. There is also another scramble at the far side of the river as the lucky ones get out of the water to step on the Promised Land. Here danger is not yet over as they have to pass through a battalion of lions lying in ambush. The weak, the exhausted easily fall a prey. This is what we call the annual wildebeest's migration which takes place between July and August while the return journey is in October and November.

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