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Wildebeest

 

In Mkuze Park SA these wildebeest were everywhere hanging out with zebras, rhino, impalas, giraffes and nyalas all the four hoofed animals gathered and grazed together, I suppose in solidarity. Safety in numbers is a great idea in such a hostile environment with hyenas, dogs, jaguar, cheetahs to name but a few about to pounce at anytime.

 

I was surprised how compact they are at less than 5ft to the shoulder and weighing around 230 kg on average. These are grazers, both male and females possess horns, the young are able to walk very soon after birth.  They have a life expectancy of around 20 - 30 years.

 

I was fortunate to witness a wild dog hunt on a herd of around thirty wildebeest.  The heards first reaction was to circle around the young with their horns pointing in the direction of the dogs. They stood their ground while one dog made a ferocious bite at one of the bulls. You could imagine the adrenaline surges felt by both dog and beast. Unsuccessful the dogs withdrew waiting for them to break the circle and move on before continuing their attack.

 

The largest population of wildebeest is found around the Serengeti where enormous herds are active 24/7 grazing and watching out for predators while the others rest.  Between May and June there is an unbelievable spectacle where as many as 1.5 million wildebeest along with thousands of other animals head north to better pastures.  During this time what can only be described as a swarm of animals cross valleys and rivers some get eaten along the way but the heard keeps moving, sometimes at speeds of 60km per hour.

Wilderbeast