It’s great to celebrate the small things, especially when you live amongst nature.
So when Operations Manager Will Ford came to tell us about the tiny bushbuck that had just been born outside his house, we naturally grabbed our cameras and headed down to take a look:
We arrived as the lamb – only hours old – was having some milk from its mother. A number of bushbuck inhabit the camp, and when they give birth they try do so discreetly, away from prying eyes. Will’s house happens to be out on the edge of the staff accommodation where there is less human activity, so the ewe clearly thought it was a good place.
A lamb of this age is obviously very vulnerable, and its natural instinct is to remain as close to its mother as possible. As soon as she started to move off, it followed, but she made sure to not move too fast, and waited for it if it lagged.
Despite their small stature, bushbuck can actually be incredibly dangerous, so with the mother on high alert with us there taking photographs, we opted to keep a very respectful distance.
Small spots on its flank will help break up its outline if it gets left in hiding by its mother.
After a couple of minutes the mother led the lamb away to a quieter area.
The resident antelope of the camp might appear to have things easy, but with leopards regularly prowling through after dark, they are not entirely safe, and every couple of months we find a bushbuck or nyala hoisted in one of the camp trees, or a drag mark showing where one that relaxed its vigilance just a little too much had been killed and dragged down to the Sand River to be devoured.
We’ve seen the lamb once or twice since it was born, although the mother is hiding it well. Let’s hope it makes it, and its nighttime bark to warn of the presence of a predator will one day be simply another reason why life in the bush is so magical.