Crossing the River

Sit, across the river, watching, waiting, as thousands - literally thousands, gather to heed the call of nature.

 

Some will make it, others will not. For many, the crossing will  happen only once - there will be no second chance as obstacles often end in death. But the migration is a necessity of survival. The herd must follow the grasses, the seasons drive the herd, the herd must cross the river regardless of the cost.

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In 2013, a small group of photographers and guides were lucky enough to witness one of this planet's most amazing migrations - that of the animals of the Masai Mara. As the seasons change and the grass dries up, millions of wildebeest, zebra and other antelope cross Kenya's Mara River in search of greener pastures. The journey, if successful, will lead them to the lands of the Serengeti in Tanzania. If they fail, the river will sweep them away providing food for the carrion eaters.

 

For me, the sites, sounds and smells of the crossing are burned to memory. The desperation of a young wildebeest abandoned by its mother after fear stopped it from crossing. The ravaged, almost terrified look of an older animal as it finally made it up the embankment. The loud squeals and snorts of the zebra herd as they worked, as a team, to make sure the entire group is accounted for. Further down river, the victims of the crossing are evident - the smell of rotting flesh permeates the air for miles, while the carcass pile up in the rocky shores of the Mara. For all the life on this planet, no where is the savage and brutality of survival more aptly displayed.

 

These pictures were posted as part of an original blog posting called "The peculiar smell of death". To read that article, please click here.

 

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