This is the moment when a tiger finally won a bloody fight of life and death against a doomed deer. The tiger had spotted the herd of Sambar deers quenching their thirst by Rajbagh Lake at Rahnthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, India, and launched an attack on a young stag. The desperate deer struggled to get free as the duo fought to the death, but it was no competition for the vicious tiger as she struck a killer blow, before tucking into her freshly-caught dinner.
The amazing snaps were taken by wildlife photographer Alankar Chandra as he visited the lake with a tourist group. Mr Chandra, a 32-year-old tech company director, said: ‘Just at the end of Rajbagh Lake we noticed a tiger sleeping in front of the bushes. Occasionally she woke from her naps and glared towards us, then again she would doze off again.
‘We carried on waiting – as the sun started going down and dusk approached, some Sambar deer and spotted deer came to the edge of Rajbagh Lake to drink water. ‘We suppose they were not aware of the presence of tiger – else they would have pressed the panic button. ‘The tigress, to its credit, kept sleeping in same position and did not make any noticeable movements – maybe the deer had thought the tigress was sleeping, and it was safe to cross the open grounds to reach the lake edge.
‘Once the deer went back from the lake, the tigress moved swiftly and disappeared in the long grass, and for the next five minutes or so we lost trace of her. ‘Then our guide shouted that she had grabbed a Sambar deer in the bushes. ‘Both were barely visible as they were inside long grass – we could only occasionally see patches of tigress and Sambar in the bushes and trace the latest location.
‘We realised that the Sambar was constantly trying to free itself and dragging the young tigress along, but she never lost her grip. ‘All the action happened inside the bushes for 15 minutes, then the Sambar reached the open area – that’s when the real action started. ‘The young tigress was struggling to take down the Sambar at one go – usually a full grown tiger would have strangled the prey with a bite in the neck.
‘But this inexperienced tigress was mostly dragging the Sambar by its feet or clinging on to its body, and was unable to get to the neck – this is a very unusual tiger hunting behaviour. ‘Just before our safari time got over, the tigress was finally able to reach the neck and ended the pain of the struggling Sambar.’