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Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other. -Ann Landers see all quotes

Life seems to be precious !

I saw this on Discovery Channel the other day. Some wildlife program was on the air. It was some part of Africa. The rains had departed some time ago. A large herd of bison was on its perpetual grazing trail. Its a sight by itself to see hordes of bison moving at a steady pace, leaving in its wake, the earth with a lighter shade of green. It was breeding season, when food is plentiful, both for the bison, and its predators.

Amidst the herd stood a new mother, waiting for her young one to stand up. Apparently, it was born weak, for it was taking more time than normal, to get onto its feet. Generally, newborns struggle to their feet, and after their first feed, become frisky enough to surprise you.

The security of the bison lies in the unity of the herd. If the herd is closely knit, the predators dare not attack, for fear of being gored by it. Lions and hyenas closely follow the herd, looking for weaklings or waiting for individuals to stray away from the herd, to strike. In this case too, there was a pack of hyenas, following watchfully.

Yet again, it demonstrates the survival of the fittest, natural selection.

The herd moved on and the mother and her calf were at its fag end, the calf still at the same place, yet not on its fours. A few minutes later, the pair were dangerously away from the safety of the herd. The mother getting more and more anxious, as she circled her newborn.

All the while, the pack of hyenas was trying to get at the calf. The mother was successfully shooing them away, first charging in one direction and next in the other. Every time she moved away from the calf, a hyena would move in from another, to take a jab at the calf. The mother would abandon her charge and return hastily to her calf, to charge at this new threat.

What courage ! What a struggle ! The calf seemed to make a tremendous effort and managed to stand up on its wobbly feet, only to be pulled down by another jab from a hyena. The herd seemed to be blissfully unaware of this noise and edged painfully away from the scene.

To make things more desperate for the mother and her young, two lions and a lioness emerged from the grass. One of the lions was limping badly on 3 feet. Deprived of his natural ability to hunt, this one must have been really hungry. The trio joined the attack on the lonesome bison pair.

It was becoming almost unbearable to watch. All seemed to be over for the calf now. The situation seemed to be turning from tragic to comic, with the bison trying to ward off half a dozen ferocious enemies. It only seemed to be a matter of time. Soon the bison would be too tired to fight and would have to let go her calf in order to save her own life. She was already frothing at the mouth.

What followed as an unbelievable turn of events. All the commotion caused at the site of the struggle finally seemed to have caught attention of the herd, which was by now more than a hundred yards away. Suddenly, reinforcements seemed to be on their way, as about five or seven bison galloped away from the herd and arrived to the rescue of the tired mother. The calf at last seemed to have gained strength enough to stand and run a little. And with the protective cover of adults lashing out at its predators, it seemed to be finally out of danger.

But hunger seemed to have taken the lame lion to the limits of desperation, who, finding a nick between the bisons' defense, charged at the scampering calf and had it in his jaws. In a flash, three of the bison were onto him, one pair of horns smashing into him so hard that the calf was out of his grip and he was thrown a couple of meters away.

To the utter disbelief of the viewers, the calf seemed to be unscathed from the lions attack and the lion got up from where he fell, and limped away to safety, equally unhurt from the bison's thwack.

Life seems to be precious !

I wonder what it is, that makes us humans kill ourselves, and each other, with such abandon.

Author : Your humble webmaster
August 97
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