It’s been a while since I looked at these images, but the minute I saw them today – the overwhelming feelings came rushing back.
We had already seen one hunt by this day and were more than satisfied by the boring and slow 10 hour stalk+kill by the 5 brothers. Little did we know we had a special personal show waiting for us the next morning.
We found this female Cheetah chilling all by herself in the morning, on our last day in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. After a few minutes of watching her relax, we could see her mood and behaviour change – she started looking around, and within minutes locked her gaze onto some baby Grant’s Gazelles. Boy, was she hungry.
She seemed a little hesitant to move on at first, and we realised she was afraid that the Topi (another antelope found in the Mara) grazing closeby would raise the alarm if he saw her. Our amazing guide Meshack helped her out there and took our jeep between the two animals, carefully keeping a good distance from both of them – The Cheetah couldn’t see the Topi anymore, and Topi couldn’t see the Cheetah.
Within minutes of our move her posture changed completely, she took her stance and was ready for the attack.
A slow trot at first, changed into a full blown run and within 5 seconds she had the gazelle in her mouth. I photographed the trot, but couldn’t get myself to hold the camera for the grab – I wanted to see it with my own eyes this time.
Amazement, awe, disbelief, horror, pain – so many emotions. I was shaking and shivering for a long long time after. We had wanted and hoped for this moment, to watch her grab her food – but it turned out to be an incredible, but brutal sight to see. Specially, with the Gazelle’s mother at the back watching the Cheetah suffocate her baby.
The suffocating grab went on for a while. The Cheetah tried her best for a quick kill, and would start eating when she couldn’t sense any movement, but unfortunately the Gazelle kept fighting it for a while. Gruesome and hard to watch.
We watched her eat for 5-10 minutes and decided to leave once it got too gory for us (read, ME). We’ve all seen hunts on Natgeo and Discovery, but being part of their environment and witnessing such an act in real life really was life-changing.
This is the law of nature. The circle of life.
Infact, Nature presented us with another beautiful gift and we came full circle by witnessing a baby Grant’s Gazelle being born the next day in another Conservancy. Saving that for the next post 🙂
Mother Nature is truly amazing.
Please note: A lot of the images at the end are sensitive and include blood/gore and many can find it disturbing.