Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Wildebeests of Africa - A newborn trying to stand for the first time

If you ever go to Tanzania during the migration or reverse migration, you will likely see tens of thousands of wildebeests and they follow the rain.  You may have heard of the "Big 5" (animals that most people want to see in Africa). Well...the wildebeest are part of the "Ugly 5". Not the best looking animals, but they are everywhere.

Here is a group of wildebeests crossing a small lake in the Ndutu area of Tanzania.

Since we see so many of these animals, I typically don't photograph them unless I try something different. To capture this photo of the wildebeests in motion, I set my camera to a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second and panned along with the them as they ran.

Our photo tour group was in the Ngorongoro Crater when we heard there was a wildebeest ready to give birth in the area. Our guides drove us to the spot where we saw this female who was in labor. You can see the back legs of the offspring coming out of the mother.

We waited for the birth, but it was a slow process. We decided to go to our lunch spot since we were all hungry. Later we returned to the spot where we saw this little one standing up a with it's herd. It had been born maybe 30 minutes earlier and it was already up and walking.

Amazingly, these animals can not only stand within minutes of being born, but they can run at the same speed as the rest of the herd within an hour of being born. This is a necessity for survival so that they are not easy prey for the spotted hyenas.

We thought that this was the youngest wildebeest that we would see, but...

...on our second tour we came across this newborn just after it dropped from it's mother. Some of our guests actually saw the birth!

We watched as the adults coaxed the newborn to get up and move.

Click the image above to play the video

Before capturing the still images, I switched my Canon 1D X Mark II into video mode and captured this one minute video of the newborn trying to take it's first steps. It was an awesome sight to see in the wild and, in this case, the video captures that experience better than still images.

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1 comment:

Janet said...

Oh my goodness that video was just amazing!!! Thank you so much Jeff!!