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On the move

Migration is a natural phenomenon. Animals, birds, insects and mammals often make long trips from one place to another in search of food, water or breeding sites. So even as the Great Migration is underway in Kenya, here are a few others that are a must-see.

delhi Updated: Aug 29, 2012 01:19 IST
Sneha Mahale

Migration is a natural phenomenon. Animals, birds, insects and mammals often make long trips from one place to another in search of food, water or breeding sites. So even as the Great Migration is underway in Kenya, here are a few others that are a must-see.

Wildebeest
Where: Masai Mara (Kenya) and Serengeti (Tanzania)
When to visit: August and September (Kenya) and December and January (Tanzania)
Considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, this inspiring spectacle sees over two million wildebeest and zebras move from Tanzania to Kenya, and then back, in search of better feeding pastures. The annual trot sees a well-documented feeding frenzy at the Mara River by crocodiles while hungry lions, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards wait ashore for the herds. A sight that’s not to be missed.

Polar bear
Where: Wapusk National Park, Canada
When to visit: Mid-September to early November
Ready to brave the chill? Then make sure you visit Wapusk National Park and catch this beautiful and ferocious white predator at play. The polar bears in the region come visiting this area once the Hudson Bay has frozen over. And the Tundra’s buggy rides ensure that you have an up, close and personal experience with the animal while impacting the environment minimally.

Red crab
Where: Christmas Island, Australia
When to visit: October and November
If you run away at the sight of creepy crawlies, we suggest you give this small island owned by Australia in the Indian Ocean a skip, especially during the wet season. The small town witnesses an unusual yet spectacular migration of over 150 million red crabs every year. The crabs (that are thankfully not carnivorous) make the annual journey from shelters across the island to the shore to breed and release their eggs into the sea.

Fruit bat
Where:
Kasanka National Park, Zambia
When to visit: October to December
Did watching the film Bats give you the heebie-jeebies? Then this will instill a healthy sense of respect. The Kasanka National Park hosts the largest mammal migration on the face of the earth, when eight million straw-coloured fruit bats arrive from Congo to feed on the wild musuku fruits. If that sight is not reason enough to visit, what is?

Emperor penguin
Where: Antarctica
When to visit: November and December
This well-documented journey was captured best in the popular docu, March of the Penguins. The hard journey is necessitated thanks to the penguins’ need to breed inland after feeding on the coast during the rest of the year. The trip ends with the hatching of new chicks. And then they return to the shores for some more feeding. What a life!

Monarch butterfly
Where: El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, Mexico
When to visit: Mid-November to mid-February
Always thought a solitary butterfly was a flying tranquilness? Well, your perceptions will be put to the test at this UNESCO World Heritage site, when millions of monarch butterflies migrate over 2,500 miles to escape a bitter cold, to the warmer climes of Mexico.

Grey whale
Where: San Diego, USA
When to visit: Late December to March
Every year, around 26,000 grey whales make the 10,000-mile journey from the Arctic Sea to the warm water lagoons of Baja California, where the females give birth to their calves. In fact, the grey whale’s trip is the longest migration undertaken by any mammal. Cheer them on by booking a seat on a local trawler.

Bald eagle
Where: Brackendale, B.C, Canada
When to visit: January
While the bald eagle may be the official bird of the US, a trip to a small town in the north of Brackendale, BC, in Canada is a must to see the largest population of eagles. These magnificent birds arrive here to spend the winter and feast on salmon spawn in the region’s icy rivers. The migration takes place every January in tandem with the annual Eagle Festival, where visitors join scientists in tallying up this year’s migrating population.