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Terrified Baby Impala Becomes Young Cheetahs’ First Hunting Lesson

Professional guide and lodge owner Mikey Carr-Hartly was on safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara, when he witnessed a remarkable encounter between a cheetah family and a young impala.

“We were in an area of the southern Mara called Majani ya Chai, not far from Sala’s Camp,” said Mikey. “It’s the ideal habitat for cheetah because of the croton thickets on the edges of the plains, which provide great cover for hunting animals.”

After scanning the area, Mikey finally spotted a female and two older cubs lying on a termite mound in the shade of a croton thicket.

“It was hot, and we were not sure if the mother would bother hunting, but we decided to stick around to see if she would get up and move around.”

About half an hour later, the mother sprang up and bolted across the plain like a bullet into the thicket. She had spotted a baby impala and was on its trail.

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Cheetah grapples with a baby impala. Photo by Mikey Carr-Hartley

“To our amazement, instead of immediately killing the terrified animal, the female cheetah chased the young impala back across the plain, all the way to her clumsy teenagers who were still waiting by the termite mound.”

The younger cheetahs have not quite learned how to hunt, and this was obviously one of their first lessons.

She released the impala to the teenagers, who were bewildered and confused about what to do next. They first looked at each other, as if deciding, and finally, they gave chase.

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Learning curve: A confused young cheetah. Photo by Mikey Carr Hartley

“It was a cat and mouse situation,” said Mikey. “The bumbling cheetahs followed, tripped, waited and then followed the terrified animal again, before they eventually killed it.”

As cruel as this seems, it’s an important process for the cubs to learn how to chase and ‘ankle tap’ their prey, as well as the technique of suffocating the animal quickly.

“This will be essential for their survival in the future.”

Follow Paul Steyn on Twitter or Instagram @steynless

Comments

  1. Jesse Mason
    Australia
    June 20, 4:52 am

    Rosalind Louise Newton, how is documenting a natural event then suggest anything about the nature of the person documenting it?

  2. Goran
    Macedonia
    June 19, 4:07 am

    Human..the creature who destroyes everything good on this world has something to say against natural surviving…
    What a patetic coments… what a patetic ppl..(some of them))

  3. Yuliya Fox
    June 19, 2:44 am

    The comments on this video are laughable ;; Cheetahs are predators, they have to hunt and kill for survival. Mama Cheetah was teaching her kids to kill quickly and efficiently – their prey dies quickly and doesn’t suffer long. This video doesn’t even show the impala dying… ? This is how the world works guys.

  4. Violet
    usa
    January 28, 2015, 11:05 am

    My kids loved the video and story. I had no idea that cheetahs had “hunting school”

  5. Andrew Turner
    Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
    January 27, 2015, 10:58 pm

    When We talk about Human Being, …, It’s the Father, …, Who has to teach, …, about working, …, !!!, …, isn’t it, …, ???, … .

  6. Andrew oneal
    Pratt West Virginia U.S.A
    January 27, 2015, 7:35 pm

    Hello Paul Steyn my name is Andrew Oneal I love all animals I’m 10 but when I grow up I’m going to make a conservation fund called RPS rescue preserve and save to save endanger critically endangered vulnerable and extinct the wild.from going extinct I will save all the species I can I WILL MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!

  7. saktheedharan
    Mumbai
    January 26, 2015, 10:00 am

    Very valuable tips given … Thanks for the tips to be used when coming across wild animals.

  8. james
    January 26, 2015, 1:59 am

    “One pounce, she’s hungry—you die quickly. Two, she’s teaching her cubs—you’re in for a long day.”

    sorry somehow reminded me of that

  9. Candice Roma
    United States
    January 25, 2015, 4:54 pm

    I can only assume those of you who are opposed to a cheetah killing an impala for survival are 100% vegan and never wear animal skins (ie., leather) and are repulsed by humans who do so. Otherwise, you’re really just hypocrites who want this cheetah family to starve to death.

  10. David
    costa rica
    January 25, 2015, 4:43 pm

    the video is lame did not show What the article said. Laaaame.

    • Paul Steyn
      January 26, 2015, 7:52 am

      Hi David. The video is just one part of the full story. It shows the young cheetah a little confused about the situation and still learning what to do next…

  11. chris
    England
    January 25, 2015, 3:01 pm

    Glad I read these comments first. I won’t watch the video.

  12. Rosalind Louise Newton
    United Kingdom
    January 25, 2015, 1:43 pm

    i decide against watching this sick video that someone obviously thought would be a good idea to put on social media i know this is nature but i do not wish to watch this kind of content i think the person that recorded this and watch this poor animal die in such a way is sick themselfs.

    • Paul Steyn
      January 26, 2015, 7:54 am

      Hi there. Nowhere in the video does an animal die. So you are free to view the clip if you are worried about witnessing any gory scenes.

  13. Elínbjört Jónsdóttir
    Iceland
    January 25, 2015, 8:04 am

    Ín my survei of thos photos and film, I belive this is two events, the photos shovs defenetly an Cheetah and baby Inpala but the film shovs a Lephard play with and kil a Impala calve and bring it up a tree as is its nature. The Lephard is thicker and have spots with yellow dot in the middle, but Cheetah have much thinner and longer body with in drawn stomach. It’s spotts are all dark and verry distinct stripes down it’s face.

  14. alexander kromtit
    abuja
    January 25, 2015, 4:19 am

    Wonderful lessons! Is indeed the act of learning the art of survival which is also applicable to we humans you just have to start life from some where.

  15. marcus souza
    Brazil
    January 25, 2015, 3:01 am

    Where’s the rest of the video?

  16. Sabrina Lizares
    honolulu,Oahu HAWAII
    January 25, 2015, 12:35 am

    wished I didn’t watch what happened!! How sad!!

  17. dawa sherpa
    nepal
    January 24, 2015, 10:14 pm

    so cute.love it

  18. samantha
    January 24, 2015, 10:10 pm

    why human being not like this??????????

  19. samantha
    January 24, 2015, 10:09 pm

    a lot better than today some of people

  20. Oluwaseun Ajayi
    Nigeria
    January 24, 2015, 6:50 pm

    having your scrotum eaten alive is the heighest pain an animal can go through. I wish these guys had put aside nature’s will and help this animal out