Ostrich under threat at Hwange National Park

By Mhlomuli Ncube

THE jungle where wildlife thrives is cruel to all nature. One threatened species is the ostrich that is paying a high price in the survival of the fittest African savanna.

The jungle has not been fair to the ostrich. The huge bird is literally living on the edge as it strives for survival.

Research shows that in the Hwange National Park, the species is paying a high price under jungle laws.

“Most of them don’t survive beyond 6 months or 1 year primarily because the ostrich when they hatch they can produce as many as 20 eggs, but you can find that only 3 or even 1 survive,” said Mr Tinashe Farawo, the ZIMPARKS spokesperson.

Predators in the jungle pounce over this species in a cruel manner for the bird lacks defence skills.

There is a Shona adage which clearly describes the ostrich’s fate, “kuzvarira guva,” meaning giving birth to offspring who feed the grave.

“Scientifically, when they are threatened the first instinct of an ostrich is to run for its life. The moment the mother tries to defend the chicks, they are already attacked,” said Farawo.

While it would be harsh to judge Mother Ostrich for her reactionary instincts or lack of them, her exposure might mean every time she hatches, she knows it is not to grow the “clan,” but to simply feed predators.

It is indeed a story of “Survival of the fittest.”