As one of the largest groups of wandering animals, you would have thought that when it comes to their young, they would be in trouble from the beginning. Alike many animals that reside on the Eastern African savannas, it’s a dog eat dog world…or more lion and hyena eats everyone else! 

However these magnificent animals have an ingenious solution up their sleeves! Known as the “follower-calf” system, an incredible 80% of the Wildebeest females intuitively give birth within the same two to three week period. This synchronization reduces the probability of the tender young wildebeest to become prey to the predominant predator of the area, the hungry spotted hyaena.

And this is not the only technique these bovid (family of cloven-hoofed mammals!) have against this harsh nature of the Serengeti plains. They also choose to give birth in the middle of the herd, rather than straying away to find a secluded place – a clear example of there being power in numbers!


Once the calf is born, it then begins on a rapid journey of learning and using its instinct. And by rapid, we really do mean fast! Within minutes of birth, a calf can stand and run. It needs to keep close to its mother not only for protection, but to keep up with the relentless movements of the herd.

baby wildebeast

Astonishingly, these infants are able to run fast enough to keep up with the adults in only a few days! But this is essential because once they are up, about and feeling all of the benefits of their mothers milk that is rich with the minerals of the volcanic soil; it’s time to go!

The wildebeest migration begins right after the calving season in January and February; an epic journey of over 1,000 miles…but that’s another story altogether! 

This originally appeared on BBC Earth and was reprinted here with permission.

Wildebeest calves are born!
Learn more and see photos of the wildebeests that currently being born in East Africa.