On almost every traveller's bucket list are one of the world’s great animal migrations, be it the wildebeest of the Serengeti or the famous red crabs of Christmas Island.
Tracking animal movement has never been easier and nature lovers can follow many of the planet’s biggest migrations online and plan their trips around them. Considered the greatest spectacle of them all are the vast hordes of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles that trek the Serengeti and Masai Mara each year.
The HerdTracker App lets users follow the animals in real time, and in turn calculates their distance from various accommodation options in Kenya and Tanzania. That gives safari travellers the opportunity to make last-minute bookings to experience the Great Migration in all its glory, and of course savagery. If that type of short travel timeline is not feasible, month by month predictions are also available so that tourists can make their plans further in advance.
The HerdTracker works by monitoring animal movements through feedback from pilots in the air, along with safari guides and rangers on the ground.The creators also upload images and videos as they become available each day, as well as updating live to Twitter so that intending travellers can sate their appetite before a visit.
Another app called the Animal Tracker lets nature lovers follow the migration of individual animals, mainly birds, picking out their favourite species as it traverses the globe. Users can ‘follow’ via GPS trackers almost in real-time, and contribute images of the animals or their habitat if they live nearby.
One creature that is probably best followed electronically is the white shark, which travels thousands of miles each year in what is sometimes known as the Blue Serengeti. About halfway between Hawaii and Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, vast numbers of sharks can often be found at a spot known as the ‘White Shark Café’.
Shark Net, an ingenious app created at Stanford University, allows shark aficionados follow individual fish around the Pacific coast.
Although there’s no app for the famous spawning of the Christmas Island red crabs, the local tourist board do helpfully offer advice on when they might make their sea-bound trip. This year, the predicted spawning dates range from early October to early January, but November or December are considered the most likely months.
See here for red crab migration footage: vimeo.com