New Life and Danger in Ngorongoro

Feb. 7, 2018

705The wildebeests (also known as gnus) in the crater don’t take the long migration of the Serengeti, but they’re always on the move to find better grassland. Large herds of them migrate from one side of the crater to another. Most of the time, you also see zebras migrating alongside the wildebeest herds. They have a mutually beneficial relationship with the wildebeest – the zebras can remember the route, while the wildebeest can smell water.SONY DSCIt’s calving season and many wildebeest females had newborn calves alongside them – the mother of this newborn was still expelling the afterbirth.SONY DSCAnother one gave birth (we could see its legs hanging down) in a field near the road. DSC03898 (2)There seemed to be a sort of “gnu nursery” over there, where several newborns were either lying down or trying out their legs. SONY DSC

SONY DSCThe newborn we’d seen being born tried to nurse, but his mother wouldn’t let him – she kept nudging him forward to get him to walk. SONY DSCShe knew there was danger nearby: several hyenas lurked on a hillside, keeping their eyes on the herd for easy prey.
2-7 hyenasA short time later, several hyenas passed us, two with traces of blood on their muzzles and paws – they’d had their meal!
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We saw two kinds of gazelles – Thomson’s gazelles are the smallest …SONY DSC

SONY DSCand Grant’s gazelles are larger, about the size of impalas.
SONY DSCGazelles are a subgroup of antelope in which both male and female have horns. That is how you know impalas are not gazelles.  Another non-gazelle antelope is the eland, quite a bit larger than impalas.

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Other animals besides hyenas, gnus and lions that were sighted today: a couple of rhinos  way far off; rhinos tend to stay away from the roads and other animals.
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hippos, foraging on land…SONY DSC
but mostly submerged in the water – we could see their snouts when they came up for air.
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Baglafecht weavers, who tried to steal our food while we were having a picnic lunch…
SONY DSC..and a jackal finishing off a meal with her pups.

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