Close-up of the “life and death” river crossing of the antelope


With the forced search for food, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest have defied the possibility of being trampled to death or becoming a prey for ferocious crocodiles to plunge into the Mara River and create a very lively scene.

Every year from July to September, about one million wildebeest and zebras migrate from the Masai Mara wildlife reserve in Kenya to the Serengeti grasslands in Tanzania in search of food.

On this journey, they have to cross the fierce Mara River with fast currents and hundreds of hungry crocodiles waiting.

According to Dr. Maffioletti, the Mara River is the most difficult obstacle to overcome in the migration of wildebeest and zebras. Because, crocodiles in this river are often large (about 5m long), stronger than their counterparts in other places. This makes it easy for them to grab an adult wildebeest, before drowning it and turning it into a hearty meal.

At the same time, Dr. Maffioletti also added, wildebeest have a habit of crossing rivers together to minimize the attack of worms. This created a very lively scene on the Mara River.

However, crossing the river together has exposed the wildebeest to another “fatal” danger that, during the chaos, young or old calves can be trampled to death.

It is known that this moment of crossing the Talek River (a small tributary of the Mara River) was attended by about 5,000 wildebeest and it was comprehensively captured by photographer Paolo Maffioletti.

An adult wildebeest plunges quickly into the river and tries to move forward quickly to avoid being attacked by a crocodile. This created a very impressive moment.

Although most of them have successfully crossed the river, every year, wildebeest still have to pay a heavy price, which is the loss of about one-third of the members of the herd because of being caught or trampled by crocodiles. drowning.

However, the loss of one-third of the population of the herd will help the rest of the wildebeest and zebras to cross the river safely. Through the spring, their spawning will be more than enough to make up for the lost numbers.

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