In May every year we have a bush festival of sorts, with its own music and in which adult act like teenagers and you only participate if you’re an impala. It’s a big party because females come into heat. All of them. At the same time. The amount of hormones fluttering about make all the males lose their focus in everything else. They can’t stand one another. They’re constantly chasing each other, and if they can, they stab each other. They’re in a constant grumpy mood where females (as many as possible) are the only prize able to satisfy their “thirst”. Male impala become more.. well, more basic and primordial in all possible ways.. with all.
Nature is so wise it will reward the female’s patience with a unique gift: coordination. Seven months later after this rutting festival, all females tend to drop their babies and flood the plains of amusing little lambs. The time of the “impalitas” is one of my favourite because with their little head bands they remind me of Nana and make my heart a little happier.
The arrival of the first rains makes future moms look big and heavy.. and while probably a little bit offended of being called big and heavy – they also take to solitude to have their young. Finding the females on their own it’s a good indication that the impala time is fast approaching. It would seem however that it doesn’t matter where I go, Tristan always beats me to the first one.
“If anybody is interested there is a manpinpan mala on Warthog Wallow” (2012).
“Oh I forgot to tell you, I saw the first baby impala today” (2017).
Every single year.
Little by little the tiny ones, and all of a sudden a new generation altogether, will flood the the savanna. The impalitas. As Megan would say “what a time”. Definitely one of the few things I enjoy about the summertime – besides not being cold all the time of course.
While I love this time of the year for heartfelt reasons, there are many that love it for stomach-full reasons. I love baby season for the impalas, Tristan loves baby season for the leopards. During this time of the year predators might spend less but eat more. Some sort of cosmic super coupon that makes leopards stroll around with full bellies most of the time. I have seen greedy leopards with their cubs enjoy a 3-for-1 meal in the same tree. I have counted 5 kills in less than 3 days.
The cycle of life is at its toughest during the baby season. The young ones have to become strong and learn to run and jump as quick as possible if they are to survive. The odds are mostly stacked against them but nature, gifting them to be born at the same time, has giving them a fighting chance. From the get go, they are giving a fighting chance to become the mightier version of themselves.