Migration of the Wildebeest

CompanyCindual Pty Ltd
PhotographerKaren Lunney
PrizeSilver in Nature / Wildlife
Entry Description

East Africa's Great Migration of wildebeest, zebra and antelope has continued for centuries, despite the challenges of disease, climate changes and increasing pressures from local communities and tourism developments. One of the great spectacles occurs when the herds have to traverse the few rivers in their path. Our guide was frustrated by the crossing places of old no longer being used; the wildebeest were now trying untested and unsuitable locations. On the day we were leaving, a different search strategy put us on high and scrub-covered banks and immediately adjacent to the first group of wildebeest coming ashore. The animals were being taken by the unfamiliar currents of deep water and had to struggle to get close to the far bank. There were few rocks on which to land and the initial orderly progression soon became a desperate struggle of clambouring over and pushing down on the animals closer to the bank. The river became a cauldron of struggling and dying animals; the cries and moans and the desperate looks were indeed a portrait of hell on earth. Within minutes, the riverbank was lined with drowned wildebeest that were eventually marooned on rocks well downstream where the vultures and crocodiles were waiting.

About Photographer

Karen Lunney is a contemporary photographic artist working out of Brisbane and North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia. Her work investigates the liminal space - a state of transition, a place of possibility, where one thing has ceased and another not yet started. All levels of existence share in this phenomenon. The light of dawn and dusk, the ocean-land interface and the migration of animals all represent forms of liminality. The cultural transitions of peoples forced to westernise, not sure what culture to save into their new modernity and the climatic changes causing paroxysms around the globe both produce uncertainties for the future with consequences for many.