Wild Community

Sabi Sand | January 2018

The savanna is perceived by all, me included, as “the wild”, but I always learn something different on each game drive. The animal kingdom seems to have a society of its own, it’s not the fictional cartoon “Lion King” but it has a strong resemblance. What it is, is a network of symbiotic relations, mutualism, obviously rivalry, and inevitably the need to survive.

On my recent drive I spotted some events which pieced together the relation of these animals. On this day as we drove along the banks of a water source, it was truly a spectacular sight, the idea of having such a variety of animals at once, the inhabitants of the water, the land beasts as well as those of the sky… I guess that to obtain the most essential resource, rivalry and animosity must be put on hold.

At the dam we noted some hippopotami submerging themselves in the water since their skin is sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays. What also caught my attention was the oxpeckers on the hippos. As well as the symbiotic relation they share, it is phenomenal how these semi-aquatic giants have their personal groomers and alarm systems, for this is what the oxpeckers do to the hippos; as ‘compensation’ they consume the ticks off the hippo.

As stated, to the wild community the waterhole or dam is the most essential resource. Just as we can’t survive without our water supply, neither can the animals. One animal I spotted which requires the dam not solely for the hydration but also nutrition was the marabou stork. They visit the dam repeatedly to have a drink. We notice how they require gravity to gulp down the water, but also their sustenance is fish, so during their hydration they will also be having their fishing “expedition.” So I concluded all creatures, whether great or small, they will inevitably wind up close to the main sustainer of life, but more so each of them play a vital part towards each other’s lives as well as nature itself, for this is the wild community.