November 21, 2017

The Huntress

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.


Our first Look

Climbed a small tree and gave us these incredible poses

What a beauty

Came back down the tree and started looking around… I’m assuming she spotted something from the tree!

Locked her gaze onto her prey.

By this time we had moved between the Topi and her, and she immediately started moving towards her prey. Just look at that posture with her neck stretched out!

Her initial run…

There she goes.

And it was over within seconds. I can never forget this gaze.

The mother was far behind at this point watching the whole scene… didn’t have the heart to photograph that.

No words. My camera was shaking.

She started eating whenever she thought the Gazelle was dead…

Unfortunately, the little one kept fighting. This was extremely hard to watch.

The classic lipstick.

Still trying her best to kill.

Hah this little guy stood behind her the whole time – waiting for his turn. Kind of funny!

Ok, time for us to go.


    One Comment

  • Srinivas Patnaik November 21, 2017

    It is not Cheetah the huntress but Ishita, the huntress for such perfection. The story and sequence behind the photos, the clarity and the details of the pictures: shows the effort and passion behind it. Thanks to RP san to share it with us.

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