For the first time ever, netizens will be able to live-stream the Mara-Serengeti mass migration, one of Earth’s most astounding ecological phenomena. During this annual event, one million wildebeest, 500,000 gazelle, and 200,000 zebra endure a monumental journey from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai-Mara in Kenya. And now, thanks to the new HerdTracker app, viewers around the world will be able to witness the migration in real-time – from the couch.

Serengeti, landscape photography, African savannah

Every day from September 29 to October 5, 10-20 minutes of live footage will be broadcast twice a day on Twitter’s Periscope app. In order to view the spectacle, interested viewers will have to register on HerdTracker’s website. This app was made possible by MakeItKenya, Kenya’s international campaign to promote tourism through the distribution of high quality digital content.

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The autumnal animal odyssey occurs each year as the charismatic megafauna of the African savannah chase the seasonal rain across hundreds of miles. The great migration is a magnetic force that pulls the local ecology towards it. Lions, leopards and other mammalian carnivores stalk the herds in the grassland while enormous Nile crocodiles attack river-crossing animals from below. However grisly or frequent the scenes of predation may be, the herds are well-cushioned to handle large losses. Before the migration, 300,000 wildebeest calves are born during the dry season.

The great migration between Masai Mara and Serengeti is unparalleled on modern Earth. However, it would have been a more common site in earlier epochs, when large mammals similarly populated the plains of other continents. Woolly mammoths would have migrated seasonally to escape the harshness of winter, pulling prehistoric predators along with them. One wonders how, when similar ecosystems outside of Africa have shrunk or collapsed, the great migration retains its strength. Either way, HerdTracker and MakeItKenya have brought humanity a bit closer to this natural treasure.

Via The Guardian

Images via Bjørn Christian Tørrissen and North Country Public Radio