The wild can often be a harsh and unforgiving place, but Salomé Bezuidenhout was fortunate to witness one of the Kgalagadi’s more tender scenes: a mother springbok giving birth. She shares her heartwarming story in photos.
On just her second visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Salomé was privy to a touching sighting. She recounts what happened:
“A friend and I were driving towards Mata-Mata on the Auob Road, in the vicinity of Kamqua in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. As we drove past a herd of springbok, I noticed feet sticking out from the ewe.”
“I immediately stopped and reversed. By then the ewe had gone to lie down. We were the only people there. It was midday and a very hot summer’s day.
“I had no idea why she would lie down, but when she got up the baby’s nose was visible.
“The male started following her, and as he came close, it looked like he was trying to bite or grasp the leg of the baby.
“The pregnant springbok immediately ran across the road to its western side, and began eating grass as if nothing was going on. Then she went down again – I realised she must be pushing when she’s in that position, though I’d thought all antelope stood while in labour.
“My excitement to witness the scene was beyond anything I could have imagined. It was an amazing feeling to see her being so calm, yet alert. I felt a bit anxious for her and the baby; it was blazing hot, yet I only realised the heat inside my vehicle after everything was over.
“Once the mother ewe had delivered, I was amazed to see the baby stand up so quickly. Mom supported its every step and effort to get up.
“The female springbok also stood up and you could see that she was on high alert all the time, not only trying to scan her surroundings but also listening for sounds.
“I saw all of the looks they shared, and how every time that she cleaned the baby it seemed like kisses. I could not get enough of trying to capture those ‘kisses’ on camera!”