3. Constant fear of death
Or to put it somewhat differently….
Tennyson once wrote that “nature’s red in tooth and claw” … and for the graceful albeit skittish Impala – this axiom is surely the all encompassing daily definition of life itself. Out in the bush, the impala exists at or near the bottom of the food chain – they are the proverbial “plankton” of the veld.
Milling about the scrubby bush, herds of plentiful and accessible impala quietly munch on grasses and leaves while waiting for the next carnivorous predator to come along, the impala is a bit like Schrodinger’s cat – at once potential sustenance and simultaneously not potential sustenance…
Watching them, one is acutely aware of a communal anxiety that tenses across the herd. Day or night their hypervigilance is palpable … awake or asleep, ears are up, eyes are open, and all senses are trained to the environment. Alert to any potential predators (or tourists with cameras) the hair trigger on their flight response set to maximum sensitivity…ready to react to the silent scream at that rises up through the herd…
PS, Personally, I prefer springbok.
PPS, Apparently it sucks to be a giraffe too – but more on that later.