Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa is apparently the place to be right now. Last week, we shared a touching video of a newborn elephant calf taking its first steps in the reserve. This week,we’re happy to share an even more amazing Londolozi video and some stunning images of the birth of a Cape buffalo.
Guide Trevor McCall-Peat, who we have to thank for the footage, recently described the experience on Londolozi’s blog. He and two guests watched as 200 to 300 buffalos headed down to the dry Manyalethi River bed for an afternoon drink from some of the river’s residual pools. After about half an hour, most of the herd had cleared out and Trevor and his guests noticed that one of the cows was behaving oddly.
“She was one of the last of the herd to come to the small pool and seemed to be quite unsettled, constantly walking in circles, groaning, lying down then standing up, as if desperate to find a position to ease her discomfort,” Trevor writes.
The quickly surmised that the cow was possibly in the early stages of labor and decided to stick around to see what happened. Their patience soon paid off.
“After about ten minutes our speculations were confirmed,” says Trevor. “Looking through binoculars we could make out the amniotic sack dangling between her legs. The excitement and anticipation felt by everyone on the vehicle at the thought of watching another miracle unfold in front of us was electric.”
Trevor writes that the cow as moving constantly, pausing every few minutes to push. By now, the sun was starting to set and most of the herd had moved some distance away. The female was noticeably concerned; a lone buffalo with a newborn calf are easy targets for lions and other predators. She made her way back to the herd and a few minutes later Trevor and his guests herd a thud, the unmistakable sound of a new buffalo entering the world.
“The excitement built like a wave, passing over each member of the herd as youngsters and elders alike skipped and bounced past the young calf, some stopping to acknowledge the special bond already developing between mother and baby,” says Trevor. “The ever protective mother immediately started to lick and clean her little one to remove any scent that could possibly draw unwanted attention.”
Of the experience Trevor writes, “It never ceases to amaze me how every day in this beautiful wilderness can hold something new, and every now and then you live a day that gifts you with the privilege of witnessing something truly moving.”