Freelance guide Kevin Linforth has photographed a remarkable scene of a group of cheetah chasing a large wildebeest through the thick Madikwe Game Reserve bush—a chaotic flurry of speed and power expertly captured on camera.
Cheetahs are fast and agile cats, specializing in hunting smaller antelope on the open savannahs and plains of southern and East Africa.
So it was with some surprise that Kevin found a coalition of four male cheetah stalking a group of larger wildebeest and zebra near Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge, in the Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa.
“We were out on game drive when we came across the four male cheetah at one of the pans in Madike,” said Kevin. “These are the only four cheetah in Madikwe, so it’s always a thrill when we see them.”
“The cheetah boys had spotted a herd of zebra in the distance and they started stalking the group. There were no foals in the herd, so it was quite a bold decision for them, as zebra are not easy to bring down.”
Common sense eventually prevailed, and the cheetah seemed to lose interest in the zebra. But then one of the coalition became interested in the group of wildebeest near the herd.
“Their mood suddenly changed,” said Kevin.
One of the males picked up speed and sprinted after a year-old wildebeest. In the midst of the fear and fury of the chase, the animals came right past our vehicle, as the one cheetah tried to knock the terrified wildebeest’s feet from under it.
The wildebeest changed direction and actually ran right over the cheetah. The cat looked like it got hurt in the incident, but continued the chase.
In a cloud of dust, hooves and teeth, the cheetah managed to pull down the wildebeest as the rest of the coalition descended on the prey.
They eventually managed to restrain the wildebeest and it quickly succumbed, providing a welcome meal for the four cheetahs in Madikwe.
According to Kevin, the reserve will soon be introducing a new group of females, and he hopes that with successful kills like this, the population of cats can grow from strength to strength.
Sighting at Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge.
Find out more about Madikwe Game Reserve, in South Africa’s North West Province.