As promised in my previous post under the topic of (Cheetah Hunting Lesson) based on my recent visit to the Masai Mara in Kenya, here are some images of the diligent Cheetah mother that skillfully caught a Thompons Gazelle Fawn in order to provide her cub with a hunting lesson. The kill started with the Cheetah mother using our vehicles to scout the terrain for prey. She then jumped from the vehicle and got into the hunt immediatly. What followed was a classical Cheetah Hunting Lesson.
The Mother chased over the plains of the savannah and caught the Fawn. She then presented it to the Cub, who wanted to start eating. By the Mother’s design, the Fawn was not dead and made a break for it as soon as the mother put it down on the ground. The Cub’s lesson started and a sequence of chases by the Cub on the Fawn palyed off in front of us. The Cub eventually had at least three attempts before finally catching and killing the Fawn.
The images in this post, as a sequance, might, in the minds of many professional Nature photographers be not ‘photographically perfect’. To me however, this was an amazing and unforgettable experience to wittness and under the circumstances as well as the prevailing conditions on the day, I am satisfied that I was able to capture, as well as was possible I guess, this unique Nature Story in the Masai Mara.
These Cats have adapted well to conditions in the Masai Mara. Personally I question the sustainability of how this amazing Natutral resource is used by the people of Kenya, what I can not argue with is the amazing Photographic opportunity it provides for creating inspiring Photographic Nature Images!
Click on the first image to enlarge and follow the sequence to enjoy the story! In the Viewer there is also the option to look at individual images in full size!
Proud, vigilant, innovative and diligent Cheetah mother!
She is clearly not the only opportunist.
Just like in the BBC documentary ‘The Big Cat Diary’! On one of our vehicles this time.
Leaving the extended roof of the vehicle!
Start of the hunt!
Little higher than a Termite mound!
Getting down – No problem for this focused Cat!
On the hunt!
Focusing on the prey and getting ready for the chase!
Fastest predator alive!
First show to the Cub of the Fawn.
Typical Cheetah behaviour, looking around to make sure that no un-welcome competing predators are around to steal the kill.
The Cub returning to the mother and the kill after chasing away a Black backed Jackal that got to close.
More Cheetah behavior, moving the prey away from where the catch took place.
While mother moves the prey, the Cub wants to eat.
The cub is determined to get in on the act, but the mother has other plans.
The Fawn is still alive at this stage.
Again dropping the prey in the long grass and making sure that there is no threat from other predators.
The Fawn makes a break and the Cub instinctively chase!
The Chase is on!
The Cub catches up with the Fawn but is not sure what to do.
The Fawn again is trying to get away!
The Cub’s inexperience is evident resulting is more of a collision than a kill.
Who is catching who?
Again the Fawn seems to make a break!
The Cub remembers that there must be some ‘tripping’ involved!
Classical Cheetah ‘Tripping’ of the prey to make the prey unstable and fall. The Cub has watched his mother do this many times before.
But the prey is not dead yet and makes a run for it.
The Fawn again will try anything to get away. Ineffective technique by the Cub gives the Fawn another chance.
One of at least three occasions where the Cub managed to get the Fawn down and ready for the Kill!
Cub has the Fawn by the neck!
This is not over!
The Cub caught the Fawn, but the Fawn is still alive.
Instinctively moving the prey!
Doing it allover again!
The Cub clearly a bit more skilled this time!
The Drama is really repeating itself.
Fighting for survival.
Cheetahs can change direction in mid air and it seems so can the Thompsons Gazelle Fawn.
Wow! this is a real challenge!
Full speed from the Cub.
The Cheetah Hunting Lesson complete!
Please click on the images to enlarge