Every year hundreds of thousands of animals in Africa embark on a migration so vast it’s considered one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.
The migration, which is the largest migration of land animals on earth, includes thousands of wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras as they follow the rainy season across the plains, traveling in a circular path of more than 1,000 miles from the Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania before starting the cycle over again. They face numerous obstacles along the way from heavy concentrations of lions to making it across the Mara River unscathed by crocodiles
While seeing it in person might be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity, not everyone is going to get the chance. Now, thanks to technology, for the first time we can watch nature take its course live from anywhere in the world.
For the past few days, the migration has been broadcast live from the ground and has included commentary by experts, along with the opportunity by viewers to ask questions and get answers in real time.
The event is being shared in partnership by Make It Kenya and Herd Tracker, an app launched by safari operator Discover Africa that tracks the location of migrating herds using Google Maps in an effort to give tourists the chance to catch the otherwise unpredictable action on trips.
Watching these massive herds travel is also a reminder of the importance of keeping undeveloped corridors open for wildlife, particularly migratory species who need to move freely.
“We are running out of space worldwide due to the increase in human numbers and this has an effect on everything and not just the migration,” said Carel Verhoef, the co-founder of Herd Tracker. “Luckily for now, the pressure on the environment has not had an impact on the migration or its numbers, but development and loss of habitat and space is always a concern.”
The migration has been livestreaming in twice-daily segments and will continue through October 5. You can sign up on Herd Tracker to get an alert for when streaming is about to start and catch it on Herd Tracker’s YouTube page, or using the Periscope app. In case you miss it live, stunning images of wildlife are being posted on Discover Africa’s website and footage will also be archived on YouTube.