This will not be for the faint of heart! I’m including not only the spectacular numbers of wildebeests and their crossing of the Mara River, but also the carnage left behind. The first time we traveled to the river early in the morning with breakfast on board, we waited for two hours before they finally made the decision to cross. But the sheer numbers of animals crossing the plains was phenomenal.
While all these wildebeests were milling around not knowing what to do, this single wildebeest decided to cross over to them.
This group was very undecided. While they milled around, some started to leave and travel further upstream. Many vehicles took off after them. Our guides assured us that they were likely to cross at this site so we waited.
A large contingent turned and began the trek back over the ridge.
Indeed, many that had traveled upstream did return. After endless milling the decision to cross was made by a cow and her calf. Go girls!
Now, where’s mom?
Yep, this is my mom!
Fortunately, no wildebeest died in the three crossings I witnessed. But clearly, plenty had lost their lives in previous crossings. Again a warning… this is not a pretty sight but it is real and necessary.
Even vultures need to feed their young. The vulture was in that carcass with her entire head inside (I didn’t include it because I didn’t want to gross eveyone out!). She was diligent until she finally got enough to let her youngster feed. And the ever patient maribou stork who is so much bigger watches and waits.
This croc came out after this carcass that was floating by. He rolled it trying to take off a piece but was unsuccessful. Our guide said that it would swim around with it until it found an interested party and with the two of them rolling and tearing, meals could be had for both.
I know the vultures are ugly but I like them. They are an important link in the cycle of life. And I really like hyenas, too. 🙂
The third crossing we witnessed was far more dramatic. There were far more wildebeest gathered and as you’ll see, many took to leaping off the bank. Interestingly enough, zebra led this large group to the river but none of them ended up making the crossing. I need to look at a detailed map of these crossings and when they occur because I am confused by the direction they are traveling. This third group actually crossed the river in the opposite direction. I don’t get it!
That’s it. I’m thinking that I’ll do the rest according by location. At some point, I’ll create albums based on categories of animals. Hopefully, before school starts!