It was that time of the year again when the grass was fresh & Wildebeest migrated back in the Maasai Mara. All your eyes could see was the green grass and the grazing Wildebeest. At 7 am we found Tano Bora (five cheetahs) nicely lying on the grass looking at the Wildebeest. They were hungry and ready to hunt. Around 8 am they found a herd of Wildebeest just behind the bush and decided to chase into it but they were unsuccessful. Tired and hungry they decided to take a nap.
This was followed by another unsuccessful hunt at 11 am which was interrupted because of a Safari vehicle that chased away the Wildebeest that they were stalking. To my disappointment, I expressed my heart out to the safari guide & decided to eat lunch as the five boys took another nap. Around 2.30 the boys were active again and were on a walk since the herd of Wildebeest had moved few kilometers across. So we decided to move along with them, and as we went on it was amazing to see how they would walk and stalk in a way that the herd wouldn’t notice them. Given they walked 2km they slept right in the opening of the bush.
Got up at 4 pm and this time as they crossed the bush area and came out in the open they took the cover of the safari vehicles to hunt. It was superb to see how they just stood next to the vehicles and waited to strike. Just then one of the boys began the chase starting chaos among the Wildebeest and they drove the whole herd into the bush. It was crazy, there was chaos among the Wildebeest, you don’t know where the boys are and at least 40 safari vehicles were chasing each other to cross and go on the other side of the bush. For once I thought what if they make a kill inside the bush itself. And I kept praying please make the chase and hunt happen in the open. We reached over to the other side and the chaos prevailed. The Wildebeest were all around us & there was a good amount of dust because of them and I saw one of the boys still running for them. I was happy – the hunt didn’t happen inside the bush.
Generally, if you have ever seen Tano Bora hunt, you would know that they always have a strategy of taking their prey down. So they started spreading out and one of the boys decided to chase a small group of the herd. As the cheetah ran a Safari vehicle came right in between the cheetah and Wildebeest. I almost screamed of fear thinking what if the boy collided with the vehicle. Luckily he survived and angry Antony shared his piece of mind to the driver over the radio 😀 (censored) We thought that the hunt would cease to happen as they failed again but then we saw the other boy started to chase. There was no strategy now, he just ran straight into the herd got hold of the Wildebeest, and immediately was joined by another cheetah from the group.
The chase went on for almost 10 minutes and these two together took down the Wildebeest. I was amazed to see how strong and powerful these boys were, before this particular hunt whenever I have seen them hunting, it always took the effort of all 5 to take a Topi or a Wildebeest down. But here only two boys took the full-grown. As my wish of seeing the Tano Bora hunt in open short green grass came true we were then joined by the other 3 brothers of the Tano Bora group and almost 50 cars that surrounded them.
I was very happy as I got some really amazing photographs but at the same time, I was very alarmed by the incidents that unfolded that day. We all love to see wildlife, we want to photograph them, film them but the question is -how much do we think about THEM in this process? Two of the unsuccessful attempts, in this case, were because of the safari vehicle.
Let’s just all be more careful, and always keep reminding ourselves that we are in their home.
Photos are taken from Nikon D5 and 600mm prime F4 lens
Video is taken from Nikon Z6 and 180 – 400mm
All the contents are taken by Priyanshi Bachhawat and cannot be used without permission.