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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. :-)




Stalking...







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.







 
 
 
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on October 24th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
wow! this is amazing.