Close Encounter of the Herd Kind

After the balloon champagne breakfast, as we started the drive back to camp, we became almost completely surrounded by a huge herd of wildebeest and zebra.

Close encounter of the herd kind

But that is not the very special event I referred at the end of my last post. We also saw a bataleur eagle taking flight, a crocodile by the side of the road, impala, black headed heron, and a small elephant herd.

We also spotted a group of 2 female lions with 2 cubs relaxing on some rocks,

Lion cub yawn

But still not the special event… wait for it…

Ok, here goes. Keko spotted what he believed to be a Grant’s gazelle about to give birth, and he was right. Right after we stopped to watch, the gazelle got up and we saw her water break, gushing out of her rear. She walked away from us, but through the binoculars we could see the head of the calf starting to poke out, and her gait was strained as she had to keep her hind legs somewhat apart.

After a while she laid down, as gazelle give birth while laying on the ground. As we watched through the binoculars, we witnessed the moment where new life sprung forth, and then the mother licking the new born to clean it up. Shortly after she walked away to graze with the rest of the herd. As noted in an earlier post where I noted that we witnessed, but did not record, the first steps of a Thompson’s gazelle, gazelles will take their first steps anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes after birth, completely on their own. This Grant’s gazelle baby kept to that schedule, although on the longer side. And this time I recorded the whole thing. Behold the cuteness of a new born Grant’s gazelle. The photo series below starts with a distant shot of the mother right around the time of birth.

Baby Grant’s gazelle first steps

However new life must be balanced by death, so my parting shots for this post are of the dead spotted hyena and the lappet faced vulture ready to start in on it that we encountered on the road just outside of camp.

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