Witnessing the birth of an impala

Every day is a unique opportunity to connect with the African bush and on this day I was most fortunate in driving by a truly remarkable sighting. It was an impala ewe with something hanging between her legs.

Birth of an impala

I was on my way to pick up my guests from the nearby airport and enjoying the beautiful drive in my open safari game drive vehicle, the sound of lions roaring and birds chirping filling the air. I stopped when I heard distress calls from a herd of impalas since this is usually a clear indication that a predator is lurking nearby. It was then that the impala ewe caught my eye and I immediately realised that the thing hanging between its legs was the impala’s calf – still in the process of being born.

Birth of an impala

The rest of the herd called the alarm again, I searched for the cause of their distress with a combination of concern and excitement. Seeing nothing, I laid down my binoculars and just then a leopard bolted out of the bush, scattering the startled herd. The laboring ewe tried to delay the birth of her newborn lamb, but it was too late. The tiny calf fell to the ground in a bloody mess and the ewe sprung to the safety of a nearby thicket.

Birth of an impala

The leopard was nowhere to be seen and the distant alarm calls from the scattered herd told me it has moved off. Surprisingly, this calf had gone unnoticed.

Birth of an impala

Alone, it stretched its long, skinny legs and stood up to take its first few wobbly steps. Its mother returned, together they made their way back into the thicket and out of harm’s way.

Birth of an impala

Heaving a sigh of relief, I made my way to the airport and shared my remarkable sighting and excitement with my new guests. It’s rare moments like these that makes life in the raw African bush so special.

Written by: Gregory Heasman

Kapama Karula