Caught in the Middle

August 26, 2013 Eles caught in migration | Unique Safaris

For us humans, the sound and sight of surrounding masses of wildebeests is the greatest wildlife spectacle on the planet. But how do the wildebeest’s neighbors cope with the confusion and cacophony of encircling herds?

Elephants clearly don’t enjoy being caught in the jam of migration. Elephants are used to having their way, but when their way is blocked by thousands of noisy animals they react with a combination of befuddlement and aggression. My group and I observed a great example of this behavior on a safari in May.

Working their way along the headwaters of the Seronera River where it meanders over the treeless Serengeti Plain, a herd of thirsty elephants were blocked on all sides by wildebeest. Wherever they wanted to drink, endless masses of gnus barred the way. Frustrated females and calves bunched up in a protective huddle around their leader. The matriarch knew where she wanted to go, but seemed uncertain of a path through the curtain of black gnus. Outlier males, tag-along teens and would-be suitor bulls, vented their displeasure with bluster. Trumpeting and mock charging in all directions, they harmlessly threw their weight around. But size does count, and the ever cautious wildebeests eventually cleared a path to the water, allowing the elephant phalanx to hurriedly advance to the river. A good drink and a playful bath, at last!

Upcoming Trip with Allen
Allen is leading a safari in May 2014. He only allows a limited number of people with him on his trips so if you are interested please contact Meg Katzman at 651-405-6683 or request an itinerary.

About Allen Bechky
Allen is a legendary wildlife guide, with more than 30 years of experience leading groups in the Serengeti. Outside Magazine called him “Mr. Migration.” Allen is the author of Sierra Club guidebooks, Adventuring in East Africa and Adventuring in Southern Africa, and he knows the continent end to end. He guides wildlife safaris throughout Africa, as well as India, Borneo, and Brazil. Allen is an expert naturalist with an encyclopedic knowledge of animals large and small. His safaris are ideal for people who crave in-depth interpretation of the natural world. Whether your interest is mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, culture, or history—you won’t miss a thing. Allen is keen observer, a great teacher, and a fun companion.

To give you an even deeper Serengeti experience, Allen brings along his Masai friend Ole Dorop as a special guest. A traditional leader from the Crater Highlands, Ole Dorop provides wonderful perspectives into the Masai way of life and their relationship with the wildlife who share their landscapes.


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