|SOUNDSCAPE: The Serengeti March||MISSED A PROGRAMME?|
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|Kimbea and her calf's challenging migration across the plains of Africa|
A dramatic and evocative recreation of one of the greatest migration stories of them all the epic journey of a female wildebeest and her calf from the Serengeti Plains of East Africa to the Masai Mara and back again, in one of the greatest mass movements of animals on the planet.
| Vast herds of zebra and wildebeest reach the short grass plains of the Serengeti |
Episode 5: Friday 7 November
In this final episode, the herds head south towards the now lush grass plains of the Serengeti. It might seem like the homeward stretch, but the wildebeest cannot afford to relax particularly at night when predators take advantage of the sleeping herds. By the time, Kimbea reaches the Serengeti plains, she is alone as Du-may is old enough to fend for himself, but having fallen victim to a parasitic disease he is weak and vulnerable … and the hunting dogs which have been watching him, know this.
The final programme opens in November, as the vast herds embark on the last leg of their annual migration towards the short grass plains of the Serengeti. Kimbea is pregnant and in a few months time she will give birth to another calf.
The herds first must cross the river out of the Mara triangle. This time the crossing is a shallow area, and the crossing is easy as there are no crocodiles waiting to ambush the herds. Despite this the herds cannot afford to relax, and when night falls, chilling sounds resound through the night air: first there’s the intense deafening wall of insect sounds, then the soaring cough of a leopard and the sharp alarm calls of impala. Further off in the distance, Kimbea hears the high-pitched giggling of hyenas as they squabble over a kill, and then there are the deep roars of the lions. The hooves of wildebeest thunder through the darkness, as dangers real and imagined panic the herds.
The following day, Kimbea, Du-may and the herds follow the rains which beckon them south. Du-may who is now 10 months old, no longer stays close by his mother and Kimbea doesn’t notice when he wanders away from the file of animals staggering first to the left and to the right.
Du-may has fallen victim to Turning’s Disease : a parasitic infection, which affects the brain. Hunting dogs move in on the weak, staggering animal, before falling upon him and tearing the young animal apart. Overhead the vultures gather and with a great flapping of wings descend out of the skies to seize what is left.
Kimbea knows none of this. Having reached the short grass plains of the Serengeti all her strength is focused on feeding and gaining her strength after her long and arduous ordeal, before the onset of another epic migration following the rains in search of food and water, once again.
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Listen again to Programme 5
General Biology of Wildebeest
Wildebeest studies by Richard Estes
Jonathan Scott and Africa’s wildlife
Chris Watson and wildlife sound recording
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