26 July 2017
The World’s Largest Migration of land animals has started
The Great Migration has begun
The world’s largest migration of land animals has started. The annual Wildebeest Migration at the Mara is a natural cycle that replenishes the grasslands of East Africa. Each June, around one million or more Wildebeest gather in the Serengeti to calve. They slowly mass into a huge single herd, until the dry season withers their supply of fresh grass. Rain to the North begins to draw the herd throughout July, and soon the planet’s greatest animal migration is underway.
Africa’s largest concentrations of predators are also drawn to this perfect opportunity for easy hunting. Lions are frequently seen attacking the herds - especially at night- dragging down straggling individuals. At the same time, packs of Hyena freely move through the herds, separating the young and the weak.
Olarro has experienced a huge influx of Wildebeest and Zebra into the conservancy. These herds are the peripherals of the migration, but like to stay within the conservancy due to the high volume of grass. An increase has also been noted in warthog and smaller antelope, such as the Thompson’s Gazelle and Grants Gazelle.
Predators are not the only obstacles that the wildebeest face. Kenya’s heavy rainfall in the highland Mau escarpment has turns the Mara River into a raging torrent. In the struggle across, many are drowned or swept away by strong currents. The crossing attracts massive crocodiles who each year await this season of bounty.
By September the herds will begin reaching their goal, and spreading out to graze across the expanse of the Mara. For this area, it is a time of renewal, as the dung from the visiting herds fertilizes the plains. October should see the herds turn southward and repeat the same journey back to the Serengeti, where the renewed grasslands await.
Each year, the herds will gather at the banks of the Mara River in preparation for the most perilous stretch of their journey. It is this inextricable binding of renewal and sustenance, feast and famine, life and death that makes this event one of nature’s greatest wonders.