Most wildlife enthusiasts will agree that the “great migration” is one of the most spectacular events in the natural world. Each year, some 1.5 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and antelope make their way across the Serengeti in search of better grazing.
Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas, brothers and wildlife photographers, managed to capture part of the amazing journey on an expedition to Northern Serengeti, Tanzania. There, they shot footage over the course of five days and melded it into a one-minute time lapse, which was named a finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s time lapse category.
Adult wildebeest can weigh up to 600 pounds and grow to be eight feet long. Each year, starting around March, their amazing journey takes them from their calving grounds in Tanzania west in search of better grazing territory. Once the rainy season starts, they begin moving north, crossing the Mara River and moving up into Kenya. They spend several months grazing before heading south again, usually around October, to give birth. Their circular migration can carry them nearly 2,000 miles in a year.
Their travels start as the wildebeest begin mobilizing on the Serengeti.
On both their northward and southward journeys, the animals cross the Mara River, one of the most dangerous parts of their trip. The water and its surrounding vegetation can conceal all kinds of hungry predators, including crocodiles lying in wait just below the surface. In this case, the photographers captured the wildebeest moving south, deeper into Tanzania.
Once they have selected a crossing point, the wildebeest surge across the river in a herd.
This southward journey from Kenya back to their calving grounds in Tanzania can take several months, and scientists have estimated that around 250,000 wildebeest die during migration every year. But for those that make it, greener pastures and some well-earned rest are waiting.
Check out the full video below, or read more about the experience at the Burrard-Lucas wildlife photography blog.
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