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Just why do wildebeest migrate?

Great Wildebeest Migration - river crossing

Why, when most wildebeest in Africa are non-migratory, are those of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystems nomadic? No scientist or naturalist has yet been able to answer this question conclusively, but there is no shortage of hypotheses. 

Studies using aerial photography show a remarkable level of organisation in the structure of the wildebeest herds as they start moving. The groups display a wavy front that snakes out like the head of a swarm. This amazing structure cannot be apparent to each individual wildebeest, which means that there is some degree of decision making that is happening between the animals. Is there some sort of leadership being displayed; maybe a form of communication we don’t yet know about?

Some scientists believe that the wildebeest are motivated by the chemistry of the grass. The herds are attracted to higher levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, which changes in response to the rains. So perhaps the wildebeest are merely following their taste.

It could simply be instinct. Fossil evidence suggests that wildebeest have been roaming the plains of East Africa for over one million years. In the same way their body tells them to run when a lion appears out of the grass, maybe the instinct to migrate has been coded into the DNA of the animals over many years of evolution.