It’s not unusual to see different animals mingling down at the local water hole when in the bush. Although it might be nice to think that they are all having a good old midday chat, this group behaviour serves more of a practical purpose. To learn more about the benefits of safety in numbers amongst wildlife, we chat to Peace Parks Foundation’s Chief Pilot and Aviation Manager, Hannes van Wyk, in another episode of #AskHannes.
An Office With A View
In Zinave National Park, there are several artificial water holes dotted throughout. These provide the animals with a much-needed water source during the dry winter season and make for good game viewing opportunities. Luckily for Hannes, he manages to spy a mob of mongooses drinking at a water hole while attending to some emails outside Bernard van Lente’s house. Not a bad view from the office!
These social creatures live in busy groups ranging from up to 40 individuals. This group dynamic is extremely important in helping to maximise their chances of survival. Many mobs of mongoose are led by an alpha male and female who will often be the only ones to mate and reproduce, with the rest of the group taking on a cooperative role. This includes helping to look out for the young.
As seen in the video above, mongooses also work together to alert each other to the many perils when out in the open bush. The more eyes and ears available to scout their surroundings for potential predators, the safer they all are.
Safety In Numbers
One of the many perks of waking up in the bush is never knowing what you might spot when opening your curtains. On one particular morning, Hannes wakes up to an incredible scene of a troop of baboons, a herd of nyala and impala who have all come down to quench their thirst.
Hannes explains that it is advantageous for these animals to drink together as much like the mongoose, the more eyes and ears available, the more safety is provided. The baboon’s ability to climb high up into trees, combined with their incredible eyesight, allows them to alert the herbivores below should they spot a predator approaching.
Have A Burning Conservation Question?
Don’t forget to send in your burning conservation questions for Hannes via any one of Peace Parks TV’s social media channels. He really is a font of knowledge when it comes to all things in the natural world, so when in doubt, #AskHannes!