Tour operator Tom Yule was fiming the
(gnu) and zebra migration across the
Mara River in Tanzania.
According to Yule’s account: “The event took place in October (2010) on the Mara River very close to our northern Serengeti camp.
This is the time of year that the migration of wildebeest and zebra start moving south from the
Masai Mara in Kenya, heading for the short grass plains of the southern
One of the hurdles which they have to face of course is getting across the Mara River, which flows from the Masai Mara in Kenya in a westerly direction across the top end of the Serengeti until finally reaching
Because of the rains in the area, the Mara River was full and flowing quite strongly.
The animals jump from the bank into the river in their thousands and on the day in question, we were watching one of the crossings and we saw a hippo lying in the water right next to where the animals were plunging in.
One small calf started to get washed downstream in the strong current and the hippo immediately went after it and positioned itself on the downstream side of the calf nudging it with its snout and keeping it above the water all the way across the river until finally the calf reached the other side and managed to get out and join the rest of the herd.
The hippo went back to his post and five minutes later, a zebra foal also started to get washed downstream and the hippo went and did the same thing for the foal.
Of course this little animal was absolutely exhausted by the time it managed to get onto a little rock island very close to the opposite bank.
The hippo got out of the water and came up behind the foal and started nudging it and gently biting it on its backside as if to say, ‘Come on man, don’t give up now, you can do it. Just a hop, skip and a jump and you’re there’.
And so of course with that encouragement from someone 50 times your size, the foal slowly stepped off of the island, and crossed the little channel onto the opposite side and rejoined the rest of the family group.”
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