This is dramatic moment an antelope cheated death by escaping from the clutches of a hungry cheetah – even though the fearsome predator had sunk his claws into its flank.
The adult hartebeest was grazing in Kenya’s in Masai Mara National Reserve, oblivious to the fact it was being stalked by the cheetah.
Once the predator got close enough, it started chasing the fully-grown hartebeest, sinking its claws and trying to drag the animal to the ground.
Despite the hartebeest being up to three times heavier than the cheetah, the antelope spent a full 12 minutes running away from and fighting off its would-be killer, which eventually gave up exhausted.
The hartebeest had been with a small herd of four others before the peace was disturbed by the hunter. Wildlife photographer Manoj Shah, of Nairobi, Kenya, described the hunt as ‘exciting to watch’. He was just 100 metres away from the animals when she spotted the cheetah slowly stalking the hartebeest.
The cheetah had been stalking the hartebeest slowly and was approximately 50m away when it started to run. It ran for about 300m for about a minute before it caught up to the hartebeest,’ he said.
The cheetah was trying to bring down the adult hartebeest, which is about three times the cheetah’s weight. It managed to sink its front claws into the hartebeest’s body but without success,’ he added.
‘he hartebeest – an antelope – is strong-willed and did not falter and because of this the antelope managed to escape. The hartebeest just kept on running. Because of the cheetah’s weight disadvantage, it had to give up as the hartebeest could not be brought down,’ Mr Shah went on to say.
Mr Shah said that after 12 minutes of chasing the antelope, the cheetah gradually slowed down before eventually coming to a stop and watching its dinner disappear over the horizon.
He said he decided not to pursue the antelope in his car to see what became of it, as the animal had ‘gone through enough drama that day’. I was about 75-100 metres away from the hunt in a four wheel drive vehicle,’ he said.
It is the first time I have seen an attempt by a cheetah on a hartebeest. From the cheetah stalking the hartebeest to the time the hartebeest escaped lasted about 10 to 12 minutes,’ he added.
The whole sequence was exciting to watch and photograph. I could feel my heart thumping throughout. I felt extremely lucky to photograph it,’ he added.
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal and can go from 0-60 mph in just three seconds. They can weigh between 77-143 pounds – much lighter than a hartebeest, which are mainly found in grassland, and can weigh up to 560 pounds.