Wildebeest, also called gnus, are members of the antelope family. They are related to oryxes and gazelles. A wildebeest can grow to 2.4 meters (8 feet) in length, and weigh up to 270 kilograms (600 pounds).

Wildebeest typically inhabit the Serengeti plains of southeastern Africa. For most of their lives, wildebeest graze in the grassy savannas and open woodlands of the plains, which straddle the nations of Tanzania and Kenya.

More than 1.5 million wildebeest migrate in an enormous loop every year. The annual migration northwest, at the end of the rainy season (usually in May or June) is recognized as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Natural World."

The search for greener pastures does not come without danger. Its migration route crosses many rivers, most filled with giant Nile crocodiles.

  1. What predators do wildebeest face in the Mara River?

    • Answer

      Wildebeest face hungry crocodiles in the Mara River.

  2. Where does this wildebeest migration take place?

    • Answer

      This species of wildebeest migrates in a loop around Tanzania and Kenya. This large area of Africa is often referred to as the Great Rift Valley.

  3. How many wildebeest complete the migration loop? How many zebras?

    • Answer

      Every year, more than one million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras complete this 480-kilometer (300-mile) migration loop.

  4. What drives wildebeest to migrate?

    • Answer

      The seasonal rains and the search for green grass drive wildebeest to migrate.

  5. Wildebeest face fearsome crocodiles as they cross what river?

    • Answer

      Wildebeest must cross the Mara River, filled with crocodiles, on their migration.

animal migration
Noun

process where a community of animals leaves a habitat for part of the year or part of their lives, and moves to habitats that are more hospitable.

antelope
Noun

grazing mammal.

crocodile
Noun

reptile native to parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

graze
Verb

to feed on grass, usually over a wide pasture.

inhabit
Verb

to live in a specific place.

Noun

movement of a group of people or animals from one place to another.

pasture
Noun

type of agricultural land used for grazing livestock.

predator
Noun

animal that hunts other animals for food.

rainy season
Noun

time of year when most of the rain in a region falls.

Noun

large stream of flowing fresh water.

savanna
Noun

type of tropical grassland with scattered trees.

seasonal
Adjective

likely to change with the seasons.

Serengeti plains
Noun

grassland of the Serengeti ecosystem of Kenya and Tanzania.

wildebeest
Noun

type of antelope native to Africa. Also called a gnu.