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Into the central jungle

All I could hear was the distant spluttering  of the diesel engine of the life boat as it slowly glided away into the distance. I turned and looked up at the hills ahead of me; all I could see was a carpet of different shades of green interwoven with the contours of the hills. The spur of the lake that I had been dropped in just had a trickle of water running down this muddy brown claw that was extended out under the green carpet of the jungle. On the edge of the river there was a faint game track that became bigger the closer it got to the forests. I followed this path, this was the only way that I could make any progress through this terrain that lay ahead.

The path zigzagged along the river and entered a massive open piece of grassland that extended up into the ever increasingly dense forest. There was now a distinct silence, the engine was out of ear shot and all I could hear was the minute buzzing of insects, for the rest, my whole range of sound was quiet, an eerie sound was all I could hear, my breathing and crunching of twigs under my feet. My senses automatically picked up and there was this automatic level of semi-alert that kicked in.

I was now crouching and weaving between trees and creepers as I slowly began to climb up a small ravine. Suddenly I froze, goosebumps all over me as something crunched through the undergrowth a few meters ahead. I had dropped low down and was focusing in the direction of the sound. I could see something, but its shape was broken by the vegetation. I then heard a strange sound to my right, immediately I dropped to my knees and crept in behind a tree, shielding myself as I peered through the branches. There were now a few shapes ahead of me. This was a good sign, as a single one would mean it could be a predator. I slowly stood up and moved closer to a better position. I now finally got a good look at what it was.

There was a small herd of water buffalo that were grazing in the ravine, quietly moving through the trees as they looked for the new soft grass that grows around the stems of the trees. This grass, the only green visible on the ground is fed by the dew that runs down the tree trunks in the dry season. These buffalo were different to the ones that I often see in the villages, they were in great condition, but also had a layer of hair over their body where the ones in captivity seem to just have a shiny black hide.

Another sound caught my attention to the right, something soft but in a way a bit disturbing, I turned and looked into the thicker bush, I could definitely make out the shape was a buffalo, but not too sure about it. I slowly walked closer and then froze, not from fear, but not to disturb what was happening. It was a sight that I don’t think I will ever have the privilege of seeing again. A little water buffalo being born. There I stared as the creation of life was unfolding in its natural environment.

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