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12 Epic Animal Migrations

These animals go to astounding lengths.

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Two breeds of sea turtle undertake epic migrations. The Loggerhead turtle starts its life in Japan, then travels 8,000 miles across the Pacific ocean to feed on crabs in Mexico, before returning back to the beach where it was born to nest.

Leatherback turtles start their life in the Caribbean, before swimming north to the freezing waters of Nova Scotia in search of jellyfish. They're unfazed by the cold because of their massive size – they grow up to six feet long and weigh in at over 1,000 pounds.

Each year 1.4 million of east Africa's blue wildebeest population migrate 1,800 miles in a clockwise direction around the national parks of the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya.

They are chasing the rainy season in search of greener pastures. One of their biggest challenges is crossing the Mara river in Tanzania, which is populated by crocodiles with a taste for wildebeest.

Monarch butterflies travel from Mexico to Canada for the summer each year. A single monarch butterfly will live less than three months. They breed en route, going through four generations during one migration cycle.

Sockeye salmon travel further than any other species of salmon. They spawn hundreds of miles upstream in Alaska's rivers, spend five years at sea, then swim back upstream to where they spawned, to breed, lay their eggs, and then die.

Whale sharks are the largest fish on our planet. They can reach 12 metres in length and are found all over the warm waters of the world, but many feed near the Yucatan peninsula before swimming out into the Atlantic Ocean. Whale sharks have been tracked from the Yucatan all the way over to west Africa and back.

Northern elephant seals breed on the coasts of California, but spend most of their time feeding in the waters near Alaska. Males and females have different migration routes – males follow predictable paths, whereas females chase moving prey.

Dragonflies have the longest migration of any insect. Like monarchs, dragonflies breed en route, and the migration takes four generations to complete. They migrate in order to follow the rainy season from India to Uganda.

Arctic terns make the longest migration of any animal, travelling 44,000 miles each year. They breed in Greenland, during the summer, then fly to the other end of the world to spend the southern summer in Antarctica.

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