Cheet-ing death! Impala survives after shaking off five cheetahs in Kenya
A formidable impala had a miraculous escape after it managed to shake off five cheetahs who attacked it in Kenya.
The male buck somehow stayed on its feet as the predators leapt on its back and dug their claws in to try and bring it down.
But incredibly the antelope fought itself free and fled.
The attack was captured in a remarkable series of photos by British photographer Kevin Rooney, 53, in the Naboisho Conservancy.
The photos show a mother cheetah, called Selenkei, pouncing on the 160lb beast and clinging to its neck as the impala stands firm.
Her four cubs then join the hunt and leap on its back as the buck desperately kicks and struggles.
The impala stands firm as a mother cheetah and her four cubs try and drag it to the ground with one jumping on its back
The mother cheetah, called Selenkei, pounced on the 160lb beast and clung to its neck before her four cubs joined the hunt
The male buck antelope kicked and struggled as it desperately fought to stay on its feet during the onslaught in Kenya
Eventually it manages to shrug them off and bolts away from the exhausted cheetahs.
Mr Rooney, an aeronautical electrical engineer from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said: ‘We were with our wildlife guide who seemed to have a sixth sense for when animals would attack.
‘We managed to position ourselves so the impala was between us and our truck and then the mother cheetah, Selenkei, started stalking the impala.
‘She crept up until she was within attacking range and then pounced, catching the antelope after a few powerful strides.
‘After catching the impala, which was a large male buck, she attempted to bring it down but had no luck.
‘Her four cubs were soon on the scene and they all started pouncing all over the poor impala who just seemed to stand there.
The attack was captured in a remarkable series of photos by British photographer Kevin Rooney, 53, from Cheltenham
Fully grown impalas can weigh over 160lbs and stand at around 4ft tall and can leap over 10ft obstacles to escape prey
The impala somehow managed to shake off the five cheetahs after a desperate struggle and managed to escape
‘Amazingly, after a few seconds, the impala managed to shake off the five fearsome predators and fled – leaving them in the dust. It was an amazing sight to see.’
According to National Geographic, impalas are fleet runners who are able to leap distances of up to 33 feet.
They use this technique to escape predators and sometimes, apparently, simply to amuse themselves. The impala can also clear bushes and other obstacles by soaring some 10ft in the air.
Typically, a running impala will simply jump over anything in its path. Fully grown impalas can weigh over 160lbs and stand at around 4ft tall, not including their elegant, spiralling horns.
Although Rooney was delighted to capture his once-in-a-lifetime picture, his work does have a serious message.
‘I like to show people what’s really happening – to show the animals that are endangered at their best,’ he said.
‘Elephants, lions, cheetahs. They’re all at risk and if we’re not careful we’re going to lose them forever. Their numbers are dwindling. Never take them for granted.’
The impala was first stalked by the mother cheetah who pounced and got her claws into him after a short chase
The impala managed to stay on its feet as the first cheetah leapt on its back and sunk its teeth in before four others attacked
The cheetah is seen here chasing the impala before she was joined by her four cubs who launched a relentless attack