Singita Pamushana

Pamushana | February 2013

If you set your imagination free, you too might perceive the impala hoofprint pictured above to be a dainty heart. Thousands of these secret Valentine greetings were dotted around the reserve during the Month of Love. Possibly the testosterone-fuelled rutting techniques of impala rams are more effective in securing a harem of ewes, and the last bout of this behaviour certainly seems to have paid off as there are many impala lambs prancing about at the moment. This little one was lying at the side of the road. It must have felt a little vulnerable as we stopped to admire it and its mother in the distance, because it jumped up on its stilt-like legs and bounded off to its mother’s side for reassurance – its heart-shaped hooves dashing through the air. Impala (Aepyceros melampus) lambs are usually born after six to seven months. When giving birth, the mother will isolate herself from the herd and, once the lamb is born, will keep it hidden for a few days before returning to the herd. This lamb was very young and on its own – it had not yet joined a nursery group. Once in a nursery it will only go to its mother to nurse or when predators are near. The mother will suckle her lamb for between four to six months. After this it will graze on grass during the green months and browse on leaves and forbs in the lean times.