Lens: Nikkor 300mm , f2.8 + 1.4 TC = 420mm
Description: Cheetah resting her head on her prey
Story from behind the lens: This young female cheetah was one of three cubs recently abandoned by their mother as she went off to find a mate. We were present at the final kill when the mother brought down a juvenile wildebeest, and as the cubs were feeding she slipped away.
We kept an eye on this trio as we were interested to see how they would fare.
Unfortunately, the female was the only one of the three who had learned hunting strategies from her mother. Her brothers were interested in eating but not in catching the prey.
They were not successful in feeding for four days because the young female seemed to think that the only prey they should hunt was wildebeest. But she always chose the older ones to chase, and the brothers were of little help.
Finally, on the morning of the 5th day, she began to chase a smaller wildebeest, and in the lengthy pursuit managed to flush out a scrub hare. She pivoted in mid-air and chased the hare until she caught it.
She was so exhausted by the time that she caught the hare that she didn't have the strength to kill it immediately. She just rested her head on the prey as she caught her breath. It was a very poignant moment.
The brothers, meanwhile caught up and seeing that she had food rapidly approached to see if she would share. This prompted her to dispatch the hare and consume it without delay.