Africa

Postcard: The Buffalo Anomaly

buffalo being chased by another in Masai Mara

An anomaly, according to the dictionary, is something that “deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.” On the average, I love anomalies. They make life exciting. They’re mysterious and unexpected and when animals are involved it’s that much better.

Case in point: Two buffalo, one chasing the other for a REALLY long time. What’s the big deal about that? Well, it’s not something they usually do. Especially if there aren’t any predators about. The other odd bit was that the two were females, which is highly unusual. While males might spar for a while in a show of dominance or in play, it’s not typical for females to chase one another in perpetuity.

The first time we saw them, frankly, we didn’t give it much thought. They galloped past our jeep and once they were out of view we focused on what was in front of us. But then we saw them sweep around a cluster of buffalo in the distance, making a giant arc that, once again, brought them in front of us.

The two wove in and out of their large herd as if navigating an obstacle course. It wasn’t as if everyone was on the move, the herd had nothing more on its mind than eating and pooping, and frankly, they seemed as perplexed as we watching the pair. It was obvious something was up but we still assumed that any moment they were going to stop.

On the third pass we could see that the chaser was P-I-S-S-E-D. She ran with her head down and hooves up. She clearly wanted to plant her horns firmly in the rear of her adversary and she wasn’t going to stop trying. As one might expect, the chasee was doing her best to stay out of reach. Whatever she did must have been B-A-D.

Buffalo chasing another in Mara Triangle, Kenya

Female buffalo chases and tries to gore another female buffalo in Kenya

A few minutes later, whoosh, the two came flying by our vehicle again.

Our little group turned to Marlon du Toit, our resident wildlife expert, and said, “What’s up with that?”

“I don’t know, ” he replied, eyebrows lifting in dismay. “I’ve never seen this before.”

We watched as they turned right and headed in another direction, parting a sea of their comrades as they ran.

What on earth?

We watched and we watched and we watched some more, and the two just kept on running. There were like ludicrously big, black Energizer bunnies.

We never did figure it out. It was an anomaly.

As far as I know, they’re still running.

 

 

 

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