Animals migrate across the globe in herds and packs in accordance with changing weather patterns and waning food supplies. In fact, mammals account for some of the largest transcontinental movements. Ahead, learn about the most impressive mammalian migratory events.
The North American Caribou
Caribou, or reindeer, are unique mammals living in the North American tundra. To find suitable grazing land, sizeable herds of caribou circulate the rugged Alaskan landscape in search of greener pastures. The traveling reindeer make their way in several herds through Alaska and Canada between summer and winter.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
A member of the antelope family, the long-faced wildebeest (also called gnu) of the Serengeti are known for their mass movements. In what is simply called “The Great Migration,” over one million of these creatures—along with their special cousins, antelope and zebras—trek thousands of miles in Southeastern Africa. The mammals in the Great Migration follow the rains through the Serengeti, keeping up with the life-giving downpours during the dry season.
As you might expect, a gathering of such mid-level food chain animals draws unwanted attention from several predators like lions, hyenas, and crocodiles, who wait patiently to pick off laggards from the swarming flock. There is so much more to know about the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania, so keep exploring and consider joining a safari tour that tracks the herd through the vast African landscape.
The Northern Elephant Seals
Carnivorous marine mammals—also called pinnipeds—like the Northern elephant seal, spend their time between land and water. These elephant seals have two land-based activities that drive their annual migrations: reproduction and molting. When not performing these tasks, Northern elephant seals roam the waters in mind-blowingly large migratory feeding trips. These months-long travels span vast oceans, often surpassing 10,000 miles in distance.
The Asian Elephant
The largest land mammal on the continent of Asia, the Asian elephant is yet another mammal that travels long migratory distances. The slow-going annual movements of these gentle giants indicate a continual search for food. Curiously enough, several hundred of these towering mammals congregate each year in Sri Lanka during the dry season.
Whether you want to learn more about animal habits or want to visit the world’s incredible goings-on, the most impressive mammalian migratory events are inspiring tales of epic proportion. Follow these animal movements across the globe and see where they go, year after year. Who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll want to travel to Alaska, California, Tanzania, Kenya, or Sri Lanka to witness these massive animal migrations with your own eyes.