Courtesy National Geographic/Anup Shah
  • Great Migrations

    Around the globe, millions of creatures depend on their mobility to survive. From the tiniest organisms to majestic mammals, they know that they must migrate or die trying. The <a href="http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/great-migrations" target="external">National Geographic Channel's "Great Migrations,"</a> which premieres Nov. 7, follows the astonishing and awe-inspiring paths of the sperm whale, the wildebeest, the monarch butterfly and the red crab. Every year, more than a million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras must chase the seasonal rains, in a 300-mile loop around Tanzania and Kenya.
    Courtesy National Geographic/Anup Shah
  • Born to Move: Great Migrations

    Researchers spent two and a half years studying where and why animals move. Every year, zebras leave the flooded Botswana fields and embark on a fascinating, but deadly, 150 mile journey through the desert inferno of the African plains to satisfy their instinctual need for salt. "That's a ridiculous migration," said Rory Wilson, the lead scientist on the project. "They have to capitalize on the time that it rains when they can get to the salts."
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Born to Move: Great Migrations

    : Every summer when the ice melts, male and female walruses of the Pacific go their separate ways. The males head for crowded beaches, while the females and their young head north, through the Bering Strait, struggling to find ice. Researchers said global warming has melted much of the Arctic ice and often females are forced to stay on the beaches where food and space is scarce. At one point, 20,000 walrus bodies are packed in together, some on top of each other. "Availability of ice is absolutely critical," Wilson said. "The bunching together of males and females is going to have profound, profound implications for walruses."
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    Christmas Island may look like a tiny rock in the Indian Ocean, but it is home to more than 50 million red crabs. They make one of the most harrowing and visually stunning annual migrations. Traveling from deep within the island's forest to the seashore, these fire-engine-red, dinner-plate-sized crabs battle against fierce acid-spitting yellow ants as they scuttle to the water and back only once a year to breed.
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    The activities of the Christmas Island red crab are dictated mostly by available moisture. They spend most of the dry season in their burrows. Their great migration begins with the onset of the wet season, usually in October or November.
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    Decimated by predators and dogged by the whims of the weather, each year 50 million red crabs on Christmas Island scamper over jagged cliffs and sunbaked sands to the water's edge – the spawning grounds.
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    Sperm whales may travel more than a million miles in their lifetime. They are constantly on the move from ocean to ocean, an underwater force of nature in their size and power. Traveling solo for most of their lives, the giant males make their way to places like Portugal's Azore Islands every year, connecting with others until they reach their destination, where females wait for reunion and renewal.
    Courtesy Hiroya Minakuchi/Minden Pictures/National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    Each autumn, almost 250 million monarch butterflies fly across North America, trying to reach Mexico before the first frost. But no single monarch butterfly completes the migration from Mexico to as far north as Canada and back. Instead, generations of monarchs make this journey – born into a relay race no one butterfly finishes.
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    The butterflies soar on wind currents to save energy. With a good tail wind behind them the monarch butterflies can fly as fast as 30 miles per hour.
    Courtesy National Geographic
  • Great Migrations

    During their migration, the monarchs travel up to 3,000 miles total, often flying more than 50 miles per day. The National Geographic Channel's "Great Migrations" premieres Sunday, Nov. 7 at 8 PM ET/PT.
    Courtesy National Geographic
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