The Wildebeest Migration: Part 1

Standing  frail, unaware of its new-found surroundings, a wildebeest calf  has being born into the wild. Location, Masai Mara Game reserve, Kenya.  Around him are herds of its own kind, grazing; pulling the grass with their ‘lawnmower’ mouths. His mother is standing right besides him with a keen eye protecting her new-born calf with all she’s got. An annual event is taking place, the Wildebeest Migration,as known by man, but to his kind, it’s an event like no other, full of adventure and amusing experiences.  These journey is  unknown to him.  “What awaits me?” He may wonder.  His chances of survival will be limited as the herd sets to continue their journey. Will he make it back to his homeland?

wildebeasts

A pride of lion’s is crouching low in the grass waiting for their bonus meal of the year to arrive. Cubs which were born just a few months ago is among the pride and cannot wait for their ultimate test in the wild. These will be their first ever experience. One that is going to fully examine the skills they have acquired over the previous months. Although they will not fully be involved in the exercise, this will still be a breathtaking experience as they will watch, learn and also participate if need be.The pride is fully  aware of the competition they will receive from a packs of hungry hyenas which can scare away a single lion from its kill, cheetahs which are in the area awaiting the feast and vultures which are soaring in the sky waiting for the major work to be done first.

Young lion cubs

The Mara River flows silently looking very safe from afar, but what lies along the banks are very hungry crocodiles  with their mouths wide open, basking in the sun, perhaps visualizing the tactics they will pull later on and the  flesh that will be between their teeth within seconds. It will be an enormous feast and they will probably not eat the following day on a full stomach.

The wildebeest herd has been running continuously for about an hour. The calf adapted well, instincts might have played a big role here,  to him and all the other calves that were also born within the same time. As they approach the river, which they have to cross whether they like it or not, some crocodiles slip silently into the river while others gear up and await their meal. Lions, cheetahs and leopards wait on the other side of the river bank, hidden from sight. The wildebeest know their fate at these point. Their defence mechanisms against the predators that await them is to huddle up together ready to cross the river.  Darwin’s theory, survival of the fittest, is going to be seen here.

The calf mixes in with the herd and is ready to expect the unexpected. Him and other calves still don’t know what awaits them during and after the crossing.

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