THE HUNT: The Spectacle, Excitement & The Thrill of the Chase

Written by Outdoor Beasts Staff on November 2, 2015

Nature’s one tough muth’a.

Who’d be a wildebeest? They do look quite magnificent, in a primitive kind of way, big and horny. But they then behave so very unmagnificently, scared and a bit thick. They run because they’re lunch – big lunch on legs – for a lot of Africa. Who’s chasing, and hoping to lunch on, them today, here in The Hunt (BBC1, Sunday)? Wild dogs.

What?! A wildebeest is 10 times the size of one of them. Yeah, but the dogs are clever and work together; the wildebeest aren’t and don’t. When they do – grow some collective balls and stop to face the dogs en masse – they’re fine, the dogs can’t come near them. Even two wildebeest, working together and facing opposite ways, like Dr Dolittle’s pushmi-pullyu, literally covering each other’s asses, are OK. But when one breaks off and decides to go it alone, that’s only going to end one way.

A horrible way to go, too – worn down over time and distance, legs snapped at from behind, until eventually down he comes and the pack tears him into pieces. While the herd looks on. You’d think they’d learn after thousands of years, no? Stop and face the dogs; don’t go it alone. It’s not such a massive leap of evolution, is it? But then the dogs would go hungry, I guess. There’s more than one side to this story.

Outdoor Beasts, Doug Giles, Gayne Young

It’s hard not to get emotionally involved, though. Not with the insects – a grasshopper tongued in from a distance with a nice sticky thwack then crunched up by the chameleon at the other end of the tongue – that’s just satisfying, and funny. But the poor baby humpback whale wave-washed away from the safety of its mother by a pod of orcas, then drowned. And the impala ambushed by a leopard and dragged into a ditch to be devoured … Oh, the impala then walks out of the ditch, looking as surprised as I am.

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