Blue Wildebeest Migration
Blue wildebeest migration is the greatest wildlife event that happens in the world, this is the period when millions of blue wildebeest cross the Mara River to Masai Mara national Reserve. The wildebeest are the Stringy-haired beasts known as Gnus, sharing the same Genus with antelopes (even toed ugulates) same family of Bovidae that includes cattle, goats and sheep.
There are two types of wildebeest those are:
The Black Wildebeest
The black wildebeest are also called the white-tailed gnu mostly found in the Southern part of Africa occupying the central grassland of the Northern Cape, Western Swaziland, Lesotho and some areas of Drakensbergin Kwazulu.
The black wildebeest has an estimated population of around 12,000 only though its not regarded as a threat to extinction.
The Blue wildebeest is the most dominant and abundant wildebeest that covers most of the protected areas of East Africa. The blue wildebeest have a character of communal or group grazing and moving with no team leader even during their wildebeest migration.
Due to their over wailing numbers, they graze over 1.5 tons of grass on daily basis hence making them shift almost on monthly basis in search for new grass. The blue wildebeest like staying around water collection areas and they eat in the morning and relaxing in the afternoon after quenching their thirst. They are nomadic breeders who breed in certain period of the year and they normally breed in the time of short rains around January. In Serengeti national park the calving season has broken records where more than half million calves are born daily. Their calves are always strong as soon as they are born. They start walking after just 2-3 minutes after birth and take short period of time to get better and strong. This is one of the techniques behind their success in multiplying in numbers amidst high concentration of predators in Serengeti national park.
Blue wildebeest graze in a group alongside the Zebras that have high sensitivity of the predators hence creating an awareness to the wildebeests.
The blue wildebeest migration occurs in Serengeti annually as they cross to Maasai Mara national reserve through the tactical Mara river to look for fresh grass and water. Many of us just hear, read or watch the wildebeest migration on different plat forms just to increase your curiosity but the most valuable and experiential is direct on ground observation you be the eye witness of the wildebeest migration. Below are some of the highlighted facts of the blue wildebeest migration:
- The blue wildebeest migration is the largest animal migration on the planet earth. Its on record that over 2 million blue wildebeest annually cross the Mara river to the Maasai Mara national reserve. Seeing animals jump in to the river other get scared and run back while the courageous ones keep the scale moving as they move in zigzag in the river.
- No group leader
During the blue wildebeest migration everyone is respected and is accountable for the migration but there is no chosen group leader that other animals follow or protocols to be observed no. The herd just starts from nowhere and start the run only leaving behind dust at all corners.
- During the Calving season of the blue wildebeest in Ndutu where they cross from Serengeti to the Northern sector of the Ngorongoro area, more than 500,000 newborn calves are born per day in the period of only three weeks all the beasts would have given birth. It only takes two minutes for the new born calve of the wildebeest to start running, theses helps majority of the new born calves to survive the predators.
- No migration no Serengeti
It is very clear that Serengeti national park is the home for the blue wildebeest migration and its one of the most popular attraction in the park. If the wildebeest migration ceases in Serengeti then there will be no more Serengeti as researchers have proved that most of the low season months of Serengeti are the rainy season when the wildebeest are just happily leaving around the center of Serengeti national park.
- Wildebeests belong to the group of Antelopes
The blue wildebeest which is the most commonly seen in Serengeti national park has stringy-haired chests. There are only two types of beasts the blue wildebeest found in Tanzania and the black wildebeest which are found in South Africa.