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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Air Date: Week of


CURWOOD: I grew up thinking that an Impala is a kind of automobile, so perhaps you can understand my amusement when I first saw or heard of impala in the African bush. The stylized, chrome-plated leaping impala that graces the Chevy I remember can’t begin to tell the story of this shy, rather magnificent animal.

Impala can leap all right, but what’s most impressive is how an entire herd can move in unison, like a school of fish. When on the move, the impala herd ripples as one exquisitely dynamic textured body. And these animals don’t run, but rather, they seem to float above the ground. They also are somehow exciting at rest. Stock still, their eyes look like blades of large grass. So at a distance, a closely packed herd would be hard to discern from the surrounding bush. And they are small compared to the greater ungulates that populate the Savannah such as the kudu.

Usually, when Detroit marketeers take the name of an animal, they go for power or danger. The “Mustang,” the “Cobra,” the “Viper.” But the innocent impala? Well, it’s as if Mercury decided against the “Cougar” and called their car the “Kitty-Cat” instead.

You, too, can come to the African Savannah and risk becoming captivated by the impala or the other creatures that make it one of the best places in the world to see wildlife at home, if you win a trip for two on The Ultimate African Safari. Thanks to Heritage Africa, Living on Earth is offering a chance for you to have this adventure. And to find out how, go to our website: livingonearth.org. That’s livingonearth.org for the trip of a lifetime.

ANNOUNCER: Funding for Living on Earth comes from The World Media Foundation. Major contributors include the Ford Foundation for reporting on U.S. environment and development issues, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for coverage of Western issues. Support also comes from NPR member stations and Bob Williams and Meg Colwell, honoring NPR’s coverage of environmental and natural resource issues, and in support of the NPR President’s Council, and Paul and Marcia Ginsberg in support of excellence in public radio.



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