August 3: Wakefield Estates, Zimbabwe
The morning's game drive has a purpose. The reserve is participating in an area-wide tic prevention program, pouring feed into a specially designed bin that has a long pole pointing straight into the sky. Dripping from the pole is anti-tic fluid. When game come to feed, they inadvertently rub against the pole and, voilà, are aided in the fight for health and hygiene.
Our first feeding produces the eeland, which appears to have waltzed straight out of mythology. Part cow and part horse (actually, it's an antelope), the eeland is surprisingly large but remarkably elegant. At the next feeding area, zebra come in close and snort derisively in my direction while a herd of sable circumnavigate the newly filled feed bin. They seem to be warily pondering the possibility of a hunger-crazed zebra kick.
| Postcards from Africa
Dances with ostriches
The Ostrich Dance
Video: 740K .avi or 718K .mov
In the hatchery down the road we witness a chick further cracking through its thin shell slowly, slowly making its way. The baby bird is clearly between worlds, still at home in its warm shell warm, yet fighting to break out and stake its claim. It's an amazing sight. We then move next door to meet two newborn chicks, whose markings are entirely different than those of the adult. Beneath a loosely constructed shelter, a local woman serves as surrogate mother, stroking, nurturing, and feeding the chicks. Our aviary education comes full circle when, at the end of the tour, we are privy to two ostriches actually mating.
NEXT: Tracking down rhino at the Matobo National Park
Photograph by Monique Stauder
Video by Todd Krieger