by Michael Lorentz
The wildebeest migration has arrived in the short grass plains of the Serengeti and begun to calve.
The herds are vulnerable to predators so the calving is a synchronized event. The calves all pop out in February and March. It might seem crazy, but it makes evolutionary sense for the species as whole: there are so many calves that the predators just can’t eat all of them.
You can drive 50 miles through the bush at this time and find the whole route lined with wildebeest.
It takes a bit of luck and patience actually to witness a birth. You have to pick out a female who is about to calve and then stay with her. The whole process can take a couple of hours but it’s an unforgettable moment when the brand new wildebeest finally emerges: wet, gangly, all legs. The mother licks it and they bond on the basis of their call. There are tens of thousands of wildebeest around them, but they can identify each other’s voices. The baby is on its feet and running with the herd in minutes. A miracle of life and evolution.