Serengeti New Life Permeates the Air 弥漫新生命气息

By Ben Chow-Battersby


Travel5.jpg

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.

Travel6Travel4Travel3

“我在今年早前曾来到塞伦盖蒂,毫无置疑这是我喜爱的地方。不过这次展现叹为观止的壮观景象,这些成群结队的角马聚集形成盛大场面,它们的小崽子在一个奇迹般的同步分娩中诞生。”

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。

Ben对于角马这个动物的迁徙各方位细节投入了全面的热情研究,沉浸在初生之犊首次诞生的阵痛时刻,也为他带来宝贵的知识财富。

“这并非只是简单的生育过程-本身是壮观具备意义的-还可探索到一种令人着迷的角马群体生产结构和行为复杂性。而透过本次观察角马产子奇观之旅,让我对它们的生活方式的了解提升到深入水平。”

其中最生动的经历之一就是目睹了生死攸关的微妙局面。小牛在出生几分钟后即可站立,并与母亲一起跑步。然而,随着鬣狗,狮子和猎豹等捕食者的虎视眈眈,瞬间让角马成为囊中猎物,即使在低草草原相对“安全”的环境。

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。

“这是通过摄影探索野生动物生活形态的绝妙良机。这是至今我在摄影作品中未能深入解析的东西。我觉得与Ben在非洲生态体系度过的每日探险中获益良多。” McCann说。

当新生的角马和其他族群一起穿过格鲁梅蒂河和马拉河时,空气中弥漫着一种令人振奋和难以抑制的新生命气息。就像这些初生之犊为自己创造新生活一样,Ben也会在即将出版的书中详细描述常年的“角马迁徙”所踏上的绚丽
之旅。

Travel7Travel2

Advertisements