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23 October 2009 @ 01:43 pm
The fastest...  
The cheetah. We've all seen and/or heard about the sprinting skills of a cheetah. We've seen spectacular footage in nature documentaries of cheetahs sprinting and bringing down antelopes. Ever imagined what it would be like to see it live and in perfect angle and distance? If there's one thing I could point at to say that it was the highlight of the Africa trip then this has got to be it - a successful cheetah hunt of a young Thomson's Gazelle.

The driver was all eager to get to camp by nightfall and he was driving as fast as the unpaved road allowed him to drive. I noticed a cheetah stalking and shouted out to stop but we could only stop well ahead of the cheetah. The cheetah wasn't bothered by the car and we noticed that we were exactly midway between the cheetah and a small herd of Thomson's Gazelles. The gazelles had no idea a cheetah was on to them. The cat stalked and tried to get closer to the gazelles. With the camera locked in on the cheetah, all we wanted was for it to start its hunt. It did. Running parallel to the road, the cat had moved to top speed in seconds. The acceleration and the stretch of the body and the giant leaps it took with each stride was just unbelievable. These things move fast. Very fast.

The crowd was divided inside the car. Some were cheering for the cheetah to make the kill and some wanted the gazelle to escape. I've heard most hunts aren't too successful and there was every chance the gazelle would escape. Not this time. With a cloud of dust the cheetah did the successful trip-and-bite and the gazelle was down. Unbelievable moment. And to think that this was one of the first things I saw in the Serengeti was even more unbelievable! I doubt I'll see another cheetah hunt this close and this perfect, but that is what cameras are for - to capture magical moments so that it can be remembered forever. :-)


The target - Thomson's Gazelle.

Take off...

The sprint

The giant leap. This was the last shot I got before the cheetah went down with the gazelle.

threefragsleft on October 23rd, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
damn it! didn't see this :(
Smithasmittenbyu on October 23rd, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
wow! Just amazing!
depontideponti on October 24th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
wonderful Yathin!
kejnkejn on October 24th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
unbelievable!! (except you are showing us the evidence.) :)

you kind of let things hanging though. you are going to post pictures of the kill, yes?
Kathy Walker: traderrunkatbyte on October 24th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Unbelievable pictures. I know you could sell these.

My two dogs (greyhounds) are the second fastest land animal. They are built kind of like a Cheetah and not like most dogs which is why they have trouble sitting like a dog.

They run like that. Amazing to watch.
t3rmin4t0r on October 24th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
That one photo beats everything I've got ...

Waited a good part of an hour, waiting for a stalking cheetah to get started ... but it didn't :(
sainath on October 24th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on October 24th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
wow! this is amazing.
debbieanndebbieann on October 25th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
wow, just wow, I love seeing these, such great photos. thank you!
Aparna: Animalsinspirethoughts on October 25th, 2009 05:53 am (UTC)
Very cool! Awesome!

I am reading a novel in which one scene describes the heroine of the novel witnessing a cougar attacking a calf. I could only imagine then. But now, I can imagine with cougar in mind instead of Cheetah in your pictures. That must have been awesome to witness.

Did you get to take the picture of cheetah with the kill and after?
angeltravelerangeltraveler on March 21st, 2010 03:07 am (UTC)
Wow you are great
You really have some of the best photos I hae seen of the African animals. I am glad you didnt post the gazelle down. I know its just nature but your pictures dont need it to prove you are good as a photographer.
Pauline from http://www.angeltraveler.com