Disappointment, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Photograph by Yuzuru Masuda
This cheetah patiently waited for the distant gazelles to come within its reach for the hunt. Cheetahs expend a great amount of energy during a chase and therefore won’t hunt if they know the distance to the prey is too far. When the moment of a brief storm muddled the field view here in Maasai Mara Plain, the hunter finally started to drag its long body out of the grasses to prepare for a flat-out sprint which could reach a top speed of 70mph.
There were 8 safari vehicles surrounding him and suddenly one of the safari guides decided to let his passengers take a photo of him closely. He started the engine and drove right next to him. This action revealed the presence of the hunter to the gazelles. They walked away and the Cheetah’s patience was wasted by the impatient humans. He looked around to see if there was any other prey unaware of his presence, but he was the only one left alone in the rainy grassland. The sad expression of disappointment was not what the rest of us wanted to witness but brought an important message for us to understand how our selfish pleasure to be close to the wildlife could affect their survival. The hunter just had to move on and start all over again.