November 27, 2017

A Disturbing "Natural" Killing

I came across this image on a Chinese online community, which claimed that the "mother deer" in the middle of picture chose to fall prey to 3 cheetahs in order to let her kids running away... while I was stunned and sad, someone suggested that was a fake story. So I searched online and found true story, which is even more disturbing.

The true story was recorded by photographer Alison Buttigieg, who capture this killing scene in Kenya, Africa. What was usual about this killing was that 3 cheetahs did not kill impala (not deer) right away. Instead, they played with the hapless impala, while the mother cheetah holding impala's neck all the time, teaching her kids how to prey. After a length of time, about a few minutes, which seemed infinitely long to the photographer, the mother cheetah finally put the impala to death, or "out of misery". While this is already hard to swallow, what is even more disturbing was the reaction of the impala. I better quote the original description by the firsthand witness, because they are simply breathtaking:

The 6th image of the sequence.
by Alison Buttigieg
What is out of the ordinary in this sequence of photos is how calm the impala is throughout its ordeal. It is probably in shock and thus paralysed with fear. It is disturbing how it seems to be posing in some photos, especially in the 6th one as if determined to stay beautiful and proud until its very end. The defiance in its eyes are in stark contrast with its lack of interest in self-preservation. This allowed me to get unique pictures of a kill that are seemingly choreographed in their grace. I wanted the viewer to sympathize with the impala, and at the same time witness with me the disturbing nature of this unusual kill.

I am out of words to say anything anymore...

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