Cheetahs and Springbok Fawn, By Bridgena Barnard, Cape Town, South Africa

Cheetahs and Springbok Fawn

Acinonyx jubatus and Antidorcas marsupialis

Learn more about Acinonyx jubatus and Antidorcas marsupialis from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park,
Northern Cape, South Africa
By Bridgena Barnard
Cape Town, South Africa

Built with a sleek body, long powerful legs, a large chest, and a small waist, cheetahs are able to reach speeds of up to 54 miles per hour! Their claws do not retract like other cats', which allows for better traction to quickly change direction while chasing prey. The springbok's common response to predators is its “pronking” behavior—several stiff-legged jumps that can lift a healthy ungulate about six feet into the air and allow it to escape.

“In 2009 my family had a different kind of Christmas holiday: We went on a camping trip and hoped to see something spectacular. From a high dune overlooking a riverbed, we spotted cheetahs. The next moment a troop of springbok came straight toward them. When the cheetahs saw this fawn, a wild chase ensued.” —BB

Nikon D700; 500mm ƒ/4 lens; 1.7x teleconverter; 1/4000 sec at ƒ/6.7; ISO 1600; hand-held.