The world wildlife instinct is clearly not to be reckoned with: salmon fight their way upstream to spawn in the creeks they hatched in, birds manage to embark on epic migrations twice a year and reach the same destinations, and herds of wildebeest rumble in great packs across the Serengeti in the famous wildebeest migration. We can’t always understand why the wildlife of the world faces these challenges, but we can appreciate that the instinct to do it is something pretty powerful, and witnessing one of these epic animal migrations will give you a sense of being part of something vast and painstakingly slow and ancient, yet also of the potential for renewal.
Several years ago I was lucky enough to get plugged into the world wildlife instinct when watching the first few moments in the lives of a clutch of baby turtles. Hatching from eggs buried in the sand, without being shown what to do, they dug their way out into the air above and skittered, as fast as their tiny, newly hatched flippers would carry them, towards the ocean. Even if they feel the air or hear the ocean from inside their eggs, they’ve never experienced those things before, so it’s the world wildlife instinct which must dictate to them what to do. In that moonlit moment I thought baby turtle instinct must be one of the most powerful forces in nature, but that’s really just the tip of the world wildlife iceberg. It was like being plugged directly into nature. Better for your soul than refreshing at a spa!
So which epic world wildlife migrations worth planning your own cycle around? The Serengeti wildebeest migration is the best known – thousands of wildebeest tracking miles of dust into the air, predators waiting at every ridge. Whale watching would be another recommendation – whales are amazing creatures, but along the route of their breeding migration they’re at their most social as they mate, calve and play with their new calves. The great sardine migration, turns the waters off South Africa’s east coast into a bed of churning silver as their slivery bodies press together so tightly to seem like some kind of sea monster rather than a billion strong shoal; and the huge, red land crabs of Christmas Island are like a brightly sparing carpet at the height of the breeding season.