Chapter three - The strange animals
As Nuru and the herd have pushed across the savannah and away from the claws and roars of the lion pride, things have started to get strange.
For one thing, all the delicious acacia trees have gone. In fact nearly every type of tree seems to have disappeared, leaving a flat landscape covered in sparse green grass.
With no trees around this is all they have to eat. To do this Nuru has to spread her legs and lower her neck, grasping dusty, horrible hunks of grass with her tongue. Yuck. Mum keeps watch while they eat but even so Nuru feels vulnerable lowering her head to the ground.
And they keep having to cross long dusty patches of ground cutting across the savannah. Every so often a noisy, speeding box zooms along them - making tooting noises as it goes. Very strange.
Different animals have started to pop up too. Large herds of horned, lumbering things - a bit like buffalo but much more stupid - grazing everywhere. They eat so much there’s hardly anything left for anyone else and most of the zebra, antelope and gazelles have had to turn back. They may have been annoying, but now they’re gone the plains feel more alien.
On the horizon Nuru notices a cluster of grassy mounds and leads the herd towards them.
They reach a clearing and start to inspect the potentially tasty treats. Disappointingly, they seem to be made of mud like a termite mound - but the tops are coated in grass. What are they? The herd are nervous, but with no trees and almost all the grasses eaten, they don’t have much choice.
Cautiously they move closer, shoulder-to-shoulder, watching out for attack. The calves stick close to their mums. The horned animals watch them stupidly, eyes glazed, mouths chewing.
Nuru is the first to reach a tufted mound. She sniffs the yellowed grass on top and takes a big bite. Ergh. It tastes horrible.
Suddenly, a strange animal jumps out of one of the mounds and points a stick at Nuru. It’s small, smaller than a newborn calf even though it’s standing on its hind legs but, judging from the loud noises it’s making, it’s very angry.
It keeps pointing its stick at Nuru.
Mum comes charging over. Everything’s going to be okay. She always makes everything oka…
Panicked the herd stampedes, running as fast as they can across the dusty plains. They run, and run, and run with no idea where they’re going. Just away.
They run until they reach a circle of dusty trees. The giraffes are exhausted, panting, foaming at the mouth.
Nuru looks at the tired group. Suddenly, she notices something. Where is Mum?
Watch out for chapter four coming soon!
Select a blog
Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.
At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.