I am a lover of nature for a number of reasons… I see God in nature, I learn a lot of life lessons from nature, and I also love the aesthetics of nature. Nature is therapeutic and yes, it pays my bills and takes me to places where I may otherwise not have gone…
A few days ago I was watching a documentary on National Geographic on the annual international migration of the zebras and wildebeest from the Masai-mara in Kenya to Serengeti in Tanzania and back to Masai-mara. This annual movement is massive and attracts worldwide attention from tourists and lovers of nature. It is the biggest animal migration in the world with an approximate 1.2 million Wildebeest and over 800,000 Zebras among other animals taking place in this yearly movement which lasts a few months.
These beautiful animals while performing this nomadic ritual of moving from one location to another looking for greener pastures and water, have to put their lives to the test while facing life threatening situations including exhaustion and thirst. They also have to deal with encounters with top predators – the lion, hyena, leopard, Cheetah as well the Nile crocodile (the most dangerous crocodile in the world) which all try to take advantage of this food bonanza.
One thing that always captures my attention in all this however is the decision of the zebra and wildebeest to make this migration together. These are two different species and normally will not readily co-exist together in the wild as they both utilize similar resources so it will be better to live separately to avoid competition. But on this yearly migration, these two species stick together for the trip. When they reach Masai Mara or Serengeti however, they go their separate ways and only come together again when it is time for the migration. So the question arises as to why travel together?
I mentioned earlier the threats from predators that these animals face in the course of their migration. For these animals to survive they need to employ their survival instincts and that is why they travel together. By traveling together, both animals are less vulnerable to predators and they enhance this by using their strengths. The Zebras have good eyesight but a poor sense of smell while the Wildebeests have bad eyesight but an excellent sense of smell. So by traveling together, they complement their strengths and buffer their weaknesses.
While the Zebras may not smell the arrival of the predator in good time, the wildebeest will smell their arrival and give the alarm call to run for safety… but giving the alarm call is not always good enough… there is need to detect the direction from which the danger is coming from and that is where the excellent eyesight of the Zebra comes into play… they see where the predator is coming from and they race away in the safest direction… the wildebeest then have to follow and it is now a race for survival with the poor, weak, sick and young usually falling victim to the predators.
Life presents us with a similar situation as the great migration… we are always on the move. In this journey of life, we get to move with other people who are different from us in many ways than one. We also like the zebras and wildebeest have our strengths and weaknesses – That is how God created everyone. We are meant to be dependent on each other as we embark on the journey of this life and as we draw to the end of yet another year, let us take a lesson from the interaction of these animals to find strengths in our friends. Find through joy and strength in one another.
To survive the tests and threats of this life we need each other and that should bring out humility in us not pride. Knowing that we all have our weakness should make us appreciate the ‘weak’ ones in our life not take advantage of them because we will also need them to cover for our weakness. Let us aim to complement those in our life with our strengths not take advantage of them. The wildebeest knows it cannot depend on its strength of smell alone to survive just as the Zebra know it cannot depend on its excellent eyesight alone to survive – They need each other. Survival is sweetest when it is achieved together.
Learn to love one another. Learn to love and be a student of nature…learn from nature.
Author’s Note: Ladies and gentlemen, an applause for Zinga – a Nigerian all the way from cape town! This was nicely written, if you ask me, and the lesson was on point! If you want to have more of his writing, please click here. As always your comments and reviews are always welcome. Remember: We need each other! 😀
Photo credits: Google images