Cheetah female and sub-adult cub, Marakele National Park, South Africa by Sabrina Colombo

Picture Story

The morning I took this photo, it was simply magical. I was out in the field on monitoring drive. Each day I had to monitor the cheetahs of the reserve to check on their movement and condition, as well as collecting data on the Big 5 and hyenas.
As soon as we started driving, we knew that it would have been a special morning, as we heard lions roaring in 4 different directions! Following the calls, we managed to find and follow a lioness with two cubs, two large males who rejoined each other and later in the morning, we found two young male lions on a kill!
As soon as we decided to leave the sighting of one of the large male lions to go look for the cheetahs, the unexpected happened: the male lion suddenly went in hunting mode and got ready to sprint; the bush was very thick, so we could not see what he was aiming at. After a second, he started to chase an animal and all we could see was a very long tail, followed by a super quick movement. The cheetahs!!!
It turned out that the male lion charged the cheetah female and her sub-adult cub, who thankfully managed to escape and found their safe spot in an open area, from where they could see any threat coming.
I parked the vehicle close to the cheetahs, to make sure that they were no longer under threat and waited in the area for a while. I took this photo a few minutes after they settled, aware of the possible danger in the surroundings.
It was a morning full of incredible moments that I will remember forever. Too many emotions to cope with in one single morning!

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