By Ben Chow-Battersby
“My visits to Serengeti during these early parts of the year are undoubtedly my favourite; it coincides with the breathtaking scenes of Wildebeests gathering in huge concentrations and the dropping of their young in a miraculous, synchronised birthing.”
In Ben Chow-Battersby’s latest foray into the wondrous world of Tanzania’s Serengeti we are again privileged to partake in another surreal experience. This time it is the spectacle of the Wildebeest calving. From late January through to February the great herds of Wildebeest arrive in the midst of southern Serengeti’s lush short grasslands where most of the females give birth within the same 2 to 3 week period.
As part of Ben’s holistic and passionate approach towards studying all aspects of the Wildebeest migrations, this immersion into the poignant moments of the calves’ first throes of life has provided Ben with a wealth of invaluable knowledge.
“It wasn’t just the sight of the mass birthing – which is spectacular in itself – but the discovery of the calving structure and the complexities in behaviour amongst the Wildebeest social groups that was fascinating. I was able to observe the tell-tale signs of the birthing spectacle and this final trip elevated my understanding of the Wildebeests’ way of life to a very intimate level.”
One of the most vivid experiences was witnessing the delicate juxtaposition of life and death. Within minutes of birth the calves are able to stand on its own and trot alongside their mothers. However, with the imminent threat of prowling predators such as hyenas, lions and cheetahs many of the Wildebeests become easy prey, even in the relative ‘safety’ of the short grasslands.
Accompanying Ben on this expedition was Ali McCann – a Melbourne based visual artist and arts educator who was able to lend her penetrating gaze in the pursuit of recreating the awe-inspiring moments of the Wildebeest calving.
“It was such a fantastic opportunity to explore wildlife photography; something I had not explored in great depth in my photographic work until now. I felt as though I was learning so much about the entire African ecosystem on each daily adventure with Ben,” says McCann.
As the newborn Wildebeest calves make their way through the Grumeti and Mara rivers with the rest of their herd, the uplifting and irrepressible sense of new life permeates the air. And just as the calves create a new life for themselves, Ben’s upcoming book detailing the stunning intricacies of the Wildebeests’ annual migration will embark on a journey of its own.
当Ben Chow-Battersby再踏入坦桑尼亚塞伦盖蒂(Tanzania Serengeti)奇妙的世界，也再次荣幸赶上了另一场超现实的经历。这次是角马或称为牛羚(Wildebeest)产犊的奇观。从1月下旬至2月，壮观的角马大部队抵达塞伦盖蒂南部郁葱的低草草原，其中大多数母角马集中同在2-3周内产子。
而伴随着Ben参与本次探险之旅的 Ali McCann是一位来自墨尔本的视觉艺术家与艺术教育者，其中也借鉴她的敏锐观察力，重现角马产犊的珍贵时刻。