This is a question that I was asked again on last afternoons game drive when we drove past a collection of animals consisting of zebra, giraffe and impala. There are many other species that will also form groups and in most cases it will be two ore more species, that have no direct competition for food eg zebra grazes and giraffe is a high level browser.
Quite often you will see a heard of impala feeding under a tree where baboons are feeding, it has two advantages to the animals, baboons are messy eaters. Therefore one can say that they eat one out of three fruits they take off the tree, so for the animal on the ground that cant reach them it is a good opportunity to scavenge some of these highly nutritious fruits.
In both scenarios one and two, one of the roles for this is predator detection, the saying goes, “the more eyes and ears the better your chance of survival”. The giraffe and baboon both have a higher angel of vision than say a impala and will give of a warning call once a predator is detected and this will alarm the other animal in the area to be on the lookout.
Kapama Main Lodge