Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chapter 1

Impi the Impala

TEXT AND PHOTOS by Angelika Wohlrab

This book was designed to entertain and inform young readers

but also to encourage older ones

to take another look at nature

albeit through the eyes of the author/photographer

Acknowledgement - Some of the photos used in this collection are contributions by my daughter and son-in-law, Putzi (Natascha) & Quinton Andrews (6 & 25 respectively; others 5).

I dedicate this book to them.


1 - The Birth of Impi

2 - Meeting other Animals

3 - Facing a Giant

4 - Smaller Creatures

5 - Different Species

6 - Gathering Information

7 - Life at the Water

8 - Relating to Nature

9 - Exploring further

10 - Danger lurking

11 - Darkness Settles

12 - The Aftermath

13 - Facts of Life

14 - Socially Inclined

15 - Related Issues

16 - A merciless Disposition

17 - Impi's Vision

The Birth of Impi

After the first drenching rain of summer, the environment appeared to explode. Fresh grass sprouted and every bush flaunted a new coat of luscious green leaves. As a result, the pressure of finding adequate food to survive stopped being a matter of concern for herbivorous animals.

Now that nature could amply provide for the influx of a new generation, the pregnant impala ewes no longer felt forced to suppress the urge of giving birth. They retreated to patches of soft grass amongst dense bushes, where the newborns would be better protected.

Although impalas carefully select sheltered hideaways for their offspring, they remain alert because danger never stops lurking. All antelopes are aware that part of life in the African bush includes
ferocious carnivores like lions.

Also constantly hovering are scavengers, such as hyenas, which are permanently on the prowl for vulnerable prey.

Since infant impalas are even more vulnerable right after birth than other newborn animals, their mothers attempt to keep their arrival a secret from the outside world. Amongst those quivering on shaky legs was an impala youngster, who refused to surrender to an innate feeling of weakness. From the outset, the little fawn revealed a rebellious spirit, and was duly named 'Impi' - he who fights relentlessly.

Once impala infants are able to walk, they nonetheless remained huddled together. To also prevent the young ones from straying, the nervous females take turns to keep a watchful eye over their precious creche.

When one day the penetrating whistle of the resident male alerted his herd, young Impi was alarmed. Without further ado, he rushed towards his mother. Fearfully the females tried to determine if the father of their offspring had detected a genuine threat. Luckily it turned out to be a false alarm, so the herd settled back to a relaxed rhythm of feeding.

Although Impi was aware by now of how skittish impalas can be, he had no idea yet what 'being in danger' entailed. Instead of feeling concerned, Impi dreamed of growing up - which included becoming an agile antelope - to gracefully leap high into the air and soar effortlessly over obstacles.

Able to sense what her infant son was contemplating, Impi's mother fervently hoped that her son's dream would come true. Only adults like her were aware that wild animals existed, for whom the likes of Impi represented as tasty a morsel as the colourful birds around devoured insects or seeds.

Some of the PHOTOS featuring in other Chapters: