Wildebeest females give birth to a single calf in the middle of the herd, not seeking a secluded place, as do many antelopes. Amazingly, about 80 percent of the females calve within the same 2- to 3- week period, creating a glut for predators and thus enabling more calves to survive the crucial first few weeks. A calf can stand and run within minutes of birth. It immediately begins to follow its mother and stays close to her to avoid getting lost or killed by waiting predators. Within days, it can run fast enough to keep up with the adult herd.
A calf eats its first grass at about 10 days, although it is still suckled for at least 4 months. Even after weaning, it will remain with the mother until the next year’s calf is born. At that time the young males are driven away, but the females often remain in the same groups as their mothers.
Wildebeest are the preferred prey of lions and spotted hyena. Although the animals have no camouflage coloring, they get some protection from gathering in large herds. (If a calf loses its mother it will imprint on and follow whatever is closest – a car, a person or occasionally even a predator, but in the later case, probably not for long.)