The Mara River begins in Narok County and in ends in Mara Region of Tanzania. In this brutal footage we see a wildebeest bravely struggle with, but ultimately succumb to, the power of the crocodile.
The Great Migration That Ended Badly
Wildebeest are large members of the antelope family. Their relatives include the oryxes and gazelles. They can live for up to 20 years and grow to 600 pounds. They trek for more than 1,000 miles a year in search of the best pastures. Most of the time, wildebeest graze the savannas and open woodlands of plains in Tanzania and Kenya. They migrate once a year. The sight of 1.5 million of these animals on the move is incredible and is considered one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. They start to move northwest at the end of the rainy season – this is usually in May or June. The crossing of the Mara River can take hours or even days. The herds gather on the riverbank waiting for one to take the first step.
The Pros and Cons of Migration
Wildebeest migrate for a very good reason – to find food. They know how to watch the rainclouds and can therefore follow the rain. These animals have learnt that grass grows after heavy rain so by following the rain clouds they are following the food.
However, there are also some problems to be overcome. In places, riverbanks are steep and slippery making it hard to get into the water without getting injured. The riverbed can be muddy so wildebeest can get stuck. If the bank on the other side is steep, they are forced to head back and start again. The river is deep and fast flowing in some areas so they risk getting swept away.
As we see in this clip, predators are another danger. There could be lions waiting to pick them off on the other side. But the biggest danger is lurking in the water and that is the Nile crocodiles! This poor wildebeest did not make it to other side.