Animal Dilemmas – Gazelles Rhino
The two Rhinos walked out of the slow river and headed for rain water pond in the center of the salty patch of soil. They have hydrated well and were craving salt. So were many animals. The salt patch was crowded with zebras, giraffes and gazelles. They were all in a rush a nervous licking away he salt from the rocks.
The place was very open and provided no cover for the animals in the middle. Around were several groves with small trees and bushes. It was a favorite place for predators and giant hunters. That is way several skeletons littered the white soil left there from wild cats. The hunters took their victims along.
The rhinos were in mating season but they were not romantics. Sessions of love making were interrupted only for food, water and salt.
The two Gazelles were taking their portion of minerals in turns. One was always attentively looking around. They were young but experienced and have seen many of their kind being devoured by wild cats and shot by giant hunters. The hunters always cut their heads off and carried them away sometimes leaving the bodies to the hyenas.
Several flocks of birds were on the far side of the rainwater pool, making more noise that the fragile Gazelles liked. One of the flocks had been there since the morning, so full with water and minerals they took off in unison. The rest of the birds all looked up.
The nearby zebras stopped licking the rocks and perked up. The sentinel Gazelle stumped the ground and both of them perked up and froze. The giraffe was too old and big to be disturbed and continued its mineral intake. The Rhino had mounted the female and nothing could disturb its efforts to save the species.
A period of static silence passed in which all animals weighted out the possibility of danger. The birds were the first to return to their grooming. Then the zebras put their tongues to the ground and finally the Gazelles. One of them stayed up and they took five minute turns.
The Rhinos concluded a session of love making and the male landed on the ground with thunder. A vibration of minor concern passed across the watering hole but in a few minutes everything went quite. Only the random chirping of small birds filled the air.
The cheetah shot out of the grove closest to zebras and the birds flew off. The zebras made a run for their lives. The wild cat flowed the closest one in an arch around the grove. Even the giraffe ran in the opposite direction. The Rhinos had just begun a fresh procreation session and even they knew the cat could not hurt them and felt shy in front of the action.
The sentinel Gazelle was the first to spot the cheetah and stomp on the ground. The Gazelles leaped lighter than air and ran away from the action. The only open route for escape was in the direction to the Rhinos. The giraffe was coming their way and the zebras were not far behind.
The Gazelles lead the pack of fear crazed animals which added to the Rhinos’ frustration. The male jumped back and landed but tripped and tipped over blocking the way of the Gazelles. The first leaped through the air and skipped the obstacle. But the second hesitate for a moment and uncertain tried to take sharp turn. The turn was a failure and the Gazelle tumbled and stabbed its gentle body on the Rhino’s horn.
The Rhino scrambled up lifting the Gazelle with it. Blood ran down into its eyes. The giant animal shook and lowered its head to get rid of the dying Gazelle. The body fell the the ground. The rest of the animals ran without looking back.
At night the hyenas came.
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photograph by Jay Aremac
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