- The wildebeest or gnu is a species of antelope native to the southern and eastern parts of Africa.
- They live in big herds and usually fall prey to predators when they become isolated or stray from the group.
- They are a well-known source of food for other predators such as Lions, Hyenas, Cheetahs, and Dogs.
If you are going to do something as spectacular as this, you may as well do it in front of a lot of people! This awesome escape by an extremely agile wildebeest has already been viewed over three and a half million times so this brave animal has certainly had a wide audience.
The heart-stopping moment occurs when all seems to be lost for this poor animal, pursued by a pride of around eight lions. The footage was shot at the stunning Rhino Post Safari Lodge, Bonga Njujula, from Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Facts About Wildebeests
- Wildebeests can reach speeds as fast as 50mph.
- The two main species are blue wildebeest and black wildebeest.
- Wildebeests are very protective when predators appear. They are known to huddle together, sound alarm calls, stamp their hooves, and even chase predators.
- Two million wildebeests migrate every year across the Serengeti Plains.
- Wildebeests mate in groups of 150.
The Great Wildebeest Escape
Wildebeests belong to the Bovidae family which is the same as buffalo and domestic cows although, unlike our domestic breeds, they are actually endangered. The good news is that their numbers have grown from 250,000 in 1960, to around 1.5 million in 2020.
This particular wildebeest has become trapped between a pack of hunting lions and a river but somehow manages to deal with both in a display of amazing bravery and agility. First, they soar over two lionesses, taking the hunters by surprise and evading capture by just a few feet.
In slow-motion, you can see that one of the lionesses tries to catch the wildebeest by also leaping into the air but she fails and gets kicked in the head and thrown backward.
With two lions still ahead, the wildebeest then makes a rapid change of direction and darts into the river where they beat the lions to the other side, scramble back onto land, and continue to run away with the lions still in pursuit but some distance behind. Somehow, they have managed to outpace the entire pride!
Where Do Wildebeest Live?
Wildebeest are mostly found in the Serengeti plains of Southeastern Africa. Mostly, Wildebeest will graze their whole lives in grassy savannas and open woodlands.
These areas are near the nations of Kenya and Tanzania. In fact, more than 1.5 million Wildebeest migrate in a huge circle every year.
How Long Do Wildebeests Live?
Wildebeest have been known to live for about 20 years in the wild. Up to 500,000 calves are born in the beginning of the year in February and March every year. At the beginning of the rainy season, calves will walk soon after birth and can keep up with the herd within days of birth.
Wildebeests Evading Their Predators
Wildebeest have a number of adaptions to help them evade predators. Both the males and females have horns and they are very energetic and agile.
They are large animals, weighing up to 600 pounds so it takes a powerful lion to bring them down. But, they have to catch them first! Because wildebeests can run at up to 38 mph that is no easy task.
When threatened, they gather in a group, stomp the ground and let out loud calls to warn each other and to put the predator off. As a group, they are hard to hunt which is why lions try to separate off one individual. Although, as we can see here, that is not always successful either!
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Is This Normal Behavior For Wildebeests?
Wildebeests employ many tactics to evade predators while in a group. Predators such as lions, hyenas, and wild dogs usually stalk and hunt these animals in groups by isolating one wildebeest from the herd. Once isolated the wildebeest usually gets surrounded and cornered, eventually becoming the meal.
However, before giving up these creatures put up a fight and do their best to escape, which includes jumping, kicking, or running away from predators.
It was exciting to see a lowly wildebeest outmaneuver a pride of lions! Hopefully, they gave up the chase when they realized that this beast had no intention of going down without a fight.
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