An innocent juvenile impala approaches a male lion in an odd turn of events, having its first, and presumably final, contact with an apex predator.
Sylvie Failletaz photographed this intriguing encounter while on a morning game drive close to the Nyamepi campsite in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe. Utilizing our Film and Earn Program, submit your fascinating animal observations to Latest Sightings.
According to Sylvie, the day began very warmly with early morning temperatures hitting 25 °C. We came upon two male lions who had consumed an adult impala the previous night not far from the camp. They were sleeping and lounging around as lions typically do.
,,We decided to wait a little while longer after snapping a few pictures and observing them for a while. It was growing lighter and lighter as the sun’s rays peaked above the horizon. We hoped that because it was so hot in the morning, the lions would tire of the heat and move into the shade so we might see anything other except sleeping lions.”
A lost, helpless newborn impala started stumbling around and rushed directly in the direction of the adult lion. I was thinking: ,,Wrong move! No, no, no, get away! We found it hard to believe the helpless infant impala actually approached a male lion. The newborn impala didn’t turn around as I had hoped it would have once it realized there was danger. The infant appeared so forlorn and helpless. It was obvious that it had no idea what a lion was. Most likely, that was the creature’s first and only encounter.”
,,It approached the dozing lion quite closely and almost touched it. When it saw it wasn’t mummy, I hoped it would flee. Considering the lion had eaten the day before, we hoped he wouldn’t be interested in such a small feast.”
The lion carefully raised its head to inspect the impala cub. Then, suddenly sitting up, he had this very amusing expression on his face that said: ,,Hang on, what did I see? Is this a dream? I’ve received food? The face and the ,,comic eyes” are beautiful.”
,,Then the action began, and it moved so quickly! The adult lion first appeared to be moving extremely slowly, but he eventually exerted some effort and captured the helpless infant impala. Because our automobile was facing the incorrect direction and turned around, I was unable to follow the chase from a reasonable perspective. Sadly, I too had the incorrect lens on my camera, so I missed the action and was really upset. I did, however, take a few pictures that illustrate what happened.
,,I had never seen a pursuit from beginning to end before! To witness such a sighting in the nature during the day with such beautiful lighting made me feel really happy and blessed. But I felt bad about the adorable baby impala. It was not his day, which is terrible since I would have liked for it to have a happy conclusion. There are no rules in the wild, and nature may be brutal. Visit Mana Pools in Zimbabwe to witness this kind of behavior in the wild!