Less than five minutes.
That’s how long it took for a wildebeest calf to get to its feet for the first time.
Granted it’s usually not quite as quick as that, but still, under fifteen minutes is about the standard going rate.
Although the birthing itself can be protracted, leaving the mother vulnerable, once it’s over she and the calf will rejoin the herd almost immediately.
Being born into an area boasting one of the highest predator densities in Africa, if you aren’t up and moving almost immediately, you’re doomed. Wildebeest, impalas, waterbuck… you name it, the young are born fully developed (obviously just smaller) and pretty much hit the ground running.
In a nutshell, this is why the herbivores almost always give birth to single young. Having a litter and keeping them in the womb until they were developed enough to be born mobile just wouldn’t work. For the development needed for these precocial young, there can only be one.
The impala lambs are mostly born by now but the wildebeest birthing is in full swing and we are seeing new additions to the larger herds almost daily.
Summer truly is the time of plenty here…
Hi James thank you so much for showing those wildebeest calves they’re a symbol of life in a difficult time. The images are beautiful in the luxury vegetation and the newborn calves are just cute… hopefully someone will survive
Summer in the bush is an amazing time with all the newborn babies.
James, I loved photos🤗
Having traveled to Africa only July-August, We never have had the opportunity to see what spring brings to the continent. One of our most incredible experiences was seeing the great migration in Tanzania. (Wildebeests can be very noisy!)
It is truly amazing how these young animals can walk and move only minutes after being born. A beautiful article!
Remarkably quick on their feet, these babies, aren’t they? It is quite incredible. When one thinks how totally helpless a human baby would be in the bush after being born there (should this ever happen). Wendy M
We once watched transfixed as an impala ewe gave birth to her lamb, cleaned it, and the lamb wobbled to its feet and followed her off toward the herd! An unforgettable thing to see…
An amazing thing to behold a newborn take it’s first steps!
It’s truly remarkable how quickly the herbivore calves go from ground zero to standing and then walking in minutes. I was fortunate to see a wildebeest begin the birth process whilst running with her herd, calf’s feet protruding until she found a thicket to complete the birth. We caught up to her and watched from a safe distance the cleaning of the afterbirth and then the many attempts by the little one to stand. I had a video camera and recorded most of it- we were laughing, crying and cheering until it’s victory, finally standing and then they took off. Unforgettable!!
James, Those babies need to learn quick! Amazing that they can get moving so soon after birth!
Amazing how nature adapts to reality. Thanks, James!
Very cool post about the wildebeest calves! Rooting for their successful maturation, especially the little guy you photographed!
It is astounding to think within 15 min the calf can stand up and be by it’s mother’s side. One day old and it is running and stretching it’s legs. That is nature at it’s best.