Field report from Ping, at Mara Plains
camp, Kenya … After a very loud night from the Hippos and the Double-Cross male lions trying to stamp their authority on the southern side of the Olare Motorogi conservancy in the Maasai Mara
, I started my morning with very little action until I found a female cheetah hunting on the top of Sayialel hill. She was definitely hungry, so I knew it was just a matter of minutes until she was going to attempt to bring something down.This cheetah kept walking through the open plains checking for possible prey, she moved over to a tall mound to scan the horizon.
I could see in the distance a young Thomson gazelle foal, I told our Great Plains guests, “this hunt is going to happen!”
I quickly drove opposite her, she walked on in a hunting mode for a few minutes and with her gait beginning to change; her head was lowered and her back completely down, and all of a sudden she changed her direction completely. I told my guests, “she must have seen something she doesn’t like, maybe a hyena.” I lifted my binoculars, scanning, and sure enough the hyena was lying down nearby, completely not bothered with what was happening. The cheetah then took a west direction and saw a great target, a female Thomson’s gazelle lying close to a big Boscia tree. The Tommy was completely unaware of the cheetah; it was ruminating and looking to the opposite side. The cheetah looked around, obviously looking for hyena and lion. The wind direction was perfect and the habitat excellent.
A successful hunt for this Mara Plains Cheetah
She trotted for a few minutes and within seconds at full blast and hit the gazelle on the side, knocking her down, the little cry of the gazelle quickly attracted the attention of the hyena who came charging over and within a split second took the kill away from the cheetah. However … this cheetah was so adamant and brave, she hissed, hunched her back and then attacked the hyena back. What a spectacular sighting as we watched this female cheetah fight and get her well-deserved kill back … quite against all odds. In this moment I learned again that “there are no absolutes in nature.”