The World Cup of Wildlife Series
The great migration happening in the Serengeti is one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth. Key players are the wildebeest, around 1.5 million of them following the rains in a race for life – from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya during July through to October.
The yearly cycle begins in february when the wildebeest cows drop their young in a synchronized birthing that sees some 300,000 to 400,000 calves born within two to three weeks. A newborn wildebeest gains co-ordination faster than any other ungulates and is usually on its feet two to three minutes after birth.
Lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs and lesser predators await the annual coming of the migration with eager anticipation. Rain is the engine that drives the migration, dictating where the herds will be. While the wildebeest are forced into migration by the need to follow the green and lush lands of the Serengeti, they not only maximize reproductive success, but also out-march large numbers of predators.The mostly territorial nature of their predators prevents them from following the moving herds for too long.
The Buddha learnt the reality of interdependence from a tree. While sitting under a tree and observing how everything was dependent upon everything else he was enlightened. Fruit came from flower, flower from branches, branches and leaves grow from the trunk, the trunk from the soil, the soil is nourished by the rain, the rain is held by the clouds, clouds are formed out of the sea, the sea receives the waters of the rivers and is held by the earth, the sea nourishes the earth and earth the sea and so it goes on.
Wildlife and humans alike have majestically walked over these sacred plains for millions of years – keeping alive a finely balanced ecosystem, where all species form part of a precious, but highly vulnerable circle of life.The Great Migration is a magical yet fragile interplay between Mother Nature and its inhabitants, between winners and losers in the brutal fight for survival, between the beauty and terror of nature.
Let this be a reminder to marvel instead of to exploit, to dream instead of to destroy and to preserve our planets magic for generations to come.