Lonely Planet Writer

Live online streaming captures massive wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve

It’s one of nature’s great visual gifts to the modern world – the wildebeest migration spectacular that takes place in Africa at this time of year.

Herd of migrating wildebeest crossing a river in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.
Herd of migrating wildebeest crossing a river in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Image by Anup Shah

This week, lovers of wildlife are getting the opportunity to view such spectacles from wherever they are in the world, thanks to streaming via YouTube and Facebook. Speaking to the Daily Nation, the chief executive of WildEarth, Graham Wallington, hopes the live footage will attract wildlife lovers to Kenya to experience this unique occasion for themselves.

In an exclusive interview with the newspaper, Mr Wallington said viewers will be able to see different species of animals pouring across the Mara River looking for fresh grazing pastures, while the Nile crocodiles display their predatory instincts. The ensuing fight for survival is being streamed on WildEarth’s SafariLIVE YouTube channel. It is also being featured on HerdTracker’s Facebook page for seven hours per day up to Sunday, with material from Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.

 

However, the coverage is not only confined to the riverside, transmission will also come from the plains to catch lions hunting in packs under the cover of darkness, trying to surprise the thousands of wildebeest. Mr Wallington explained that, for the first time, his camera personnel will use infrared lighting and thermal imaging to catch the nocturnal action.

Andre Van Kets, the founder of the HerdTracker app, revealed their intention in relaying live transmissions is to personalise the relationship between wildlife lovers and these encounters in nature, so that people would want to see the event for themselves. He said the migration of wildebeest is “one of nature’s greatest spectacles”, particularly the river crossing, which is responsible for thousands of visitors who flock to the Maasai Mara year after year. According to the Nation, live broadcasts began last year, but have been expanded with the use of trap cameras along the Maasai Mara and Serengeti.