The wildebeest is from the antelope family.
Large herds of wildebeest are located in the plains and acacia of eastern Africa.
Strictly grazers, wildebeest prefer short grass. They are unable to go without water for more than a few days.
In the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem wildebeest make a migratory circle each year of 500 to 1,000 miles. The Serengeti wildebeest migration starts after the calving season in January and February on the short grass plains in the southeastern Serengeti. Wildebeests move west toward Lake Victoria, across the grass savanna to the open woodlands, then turn north into the Mara. They then begin the return trip to the south. They are relentless in their advance and will swim rivers and lakes in such huge masses that many are injured, lost (especially in the case of calves) or killed by predetors.
During mating the season, smaller breeding groups of about 150 wildebeest form within the massive herds. In these groups, five or six of the most active bulls establish and defend territories that females wander through. The bulls go through all kinds of antics, galloping and bucking around their territories. They paw the ground and rub their heads on it, spreading secretions produced by the preorbital and interdigital glands. They also urinate and defecate in a certain spot to signal to other bulls to stay away.
Wildebeest females give birth to a single calf in the middle of the herd, not seeking a secluded place, as do many antelopes. Amazingly, about 80 percent of the females calve within the same 2- to 3- week period, creating a glut for predators and thus enabling more calves to survive the crucial first few weeks. A calf can stand and run within minutes of birth. It immediately begins to follow its mother and stays close to her to avoid getting lost or killed by waiting predators. Within days, it can run fast enough to keep up with the adult herd.