Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Zebras are smarter . . .


Zebras on the Serengeti
We were lucky to be in the Serengeti just as November's short rains began for they mark the start of the Great Migration, when thousands and thousands of wildabeest and zebras head out to greener grasses. Note in the picture above that these look like brown zebras; apparently those stripes turn black as the zebra hits maturity.

I came to appreciate the mostly tranquil co-existence of an amazing diversity of life in the Serengeti. To my relief, we missed the gory crossing over the Grumeti River in April and May, where crocodiles leisurely sample from the massive herds of zebra and wildabeest. This 40 second video shows a small section of the migration in November (the noise you'll hear is the herd and comments from my fellow travellers):

video

Ombeni, our guide, told us that the wildabeest, grass-eating herd animals, have a limited sense of direction, and so rely on the zebras to guide them. We were amazed to see zebras acting just like herd dogs, keeping those thousands of wildabeest on track with nudges and snorts.

Read more about the Great Migration at the very informative site by Paul Gross (helpful map) or Wildwatch

Tomorrow's topic:  What do mudbaths have to do with hyenas and warthogs?

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