Waterbuck Crossing

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To avoid constant harassment from lions, a herd of Waterbuck crossed a channel in the Chobe river.  Their route took them from the mainland to small island where there was enough juicy grass to feed the entire herd for months. In the process they ran the gauntlet of swimming through crocodile infested waters.

sized_Chobe 15-20 Nov_2013_01350The advent of the rainy season and the knowledge of a impending flood, signalled to them that it was time to leave their cosy island home. The water level was now very low and they were able to see the crocodiles patrolling the shallow channel in anticipation of a waterbuck meal. For days they lay staring at the water, unable to summon up enough courage to cross the river.

sized_Chobe 15-20 Nov_2013_01362Then nature supplied them with an ingenious solution. When a large herd of African buffalo started to cross from Sedudu – the main island – to the smaller island where the waterbuck were, the waterbuck sensed an opportunity. Unlike the waterbuck, buffalo do not mess around when the want to cross.  They hit the water in numbers and with force. The watery stampede of the African buffalo places the crocodiles at risk of injury, so the waterbuck warily went into action. They patiently waited for the first buffalo to hit the halfway mark of the crossing before they launched themselves into the water.

sized_Chobe 15-20 Nov_2013_01420The last waterbuck cow waited for the last buffalo to clear the way before launching herself into the water but overtook the buffalo in her frantic effort to reach the mainland safely. This highly-skilled crossing of the waterbuck confirmed that, in terms of the intelligence gene, they are much better endowed than the White bearded wildebeest of East Africa.

sized_Chobe 15-20 Nov_2013_01434These, that normally cross the Mara and Grumeti river, leave behind them vast numbers of dead as a result of stampeding injuries while fewer are taken by crocodiles. In contrast to this, the species of waterbuck of the Chobe did not lose a single herd member as a result to their crossing.



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