I was going through some of the unprocessed shots in one of my back-up drives and came across this photo of an Impala struggling to free itself from the mud of a drying waterhole.
The photo brings back memories of a very sad scene at Klopperfontein Dam near Punda Maria camp in the far north of Kruger National Park. Klopperfontein, usually a perennial source of water and one of my favorite spots for photographing Elephants was just a pool of deep sticky black mud. There were literally hundreds of Impala and Zebra fighting to sip at the last drops of rapidly thickening liquid. Watching the scene it soon became apparent that it was only a matter of time before one of the animals would get stuck in the mud. This Impala was lucky to be able to free itself. It was only a few meters from our vehicle and you could clearly see its desperation as it struggled to free its legs from the mud trap.
Shortly afterwards another Impala got itself stuck and despite an enormous effort could not get free. We came back the next day and it was still trapped, barely clinging to life. It looked up at us telepathically pleading for us to pull it free, but it was just not possible to intervene and save it. Not wanting to stay at such a desperate sighting we quickly up-sticks and left.
It was definitely one of the saddest days of our lives.