The awarded images of the prestigious OASIS photo contest (www.oasisphotocontes.com), from Italy, have been recently disclosed. I was pleased to be awarded with a third prize in the Portfolio category with the above sequence of the Cheetah Shingo and her six cubs chasing and capturing an Impala fawn. The sequence was shot in late June in the Masai Mara. The six cubs played with the fawn for about ten minutes, before a Spotted Hyena realized that there could be a food opportunity and rushed on the scene. The Cheetahs left the fawn, who went to the ground hiding. The Hyena did not see where the fawn was hiding. The Cheetahs walked a short distance away and waited. The Hyena did something quite remarkable. It flattened itself to the ground, remaining completely still. The Cheetahs thought it had departed as they didn’t see it anymore. So they returned to the calf and picked it up to kill it. At that point of course the Hyena rushed in and grabbed the fawn from them. A truly amazing situation, which highlights one of the main problems for Cheetahs in the Mara, too many Hyenas stealing their food all the time. Another image of mine, of fighting Buffalos, has been awarded at the 5th position in the Mammals category.
Besides my own awards, I was extremely pleased to see that two of my guests were also awarded in the Portfolio category, with sequences taken while on safari with me in the Mara. Valter Bernardeschi was runner-up in the category, with the extraordinary sequence of the entire life of a Thompson’s Gazelle fawn, from birth to death within two hours. The fawn was killed by a Cheetah after it repeatedly tried suckling from the big cat (September 19th 2011 on my Today on Safari archive). It was one of the most thrilling and dramatic situations I ever saw in the wild, and Valter did a wonderful job in capturing the sequence. Congratulations!! Please check it out on his website:
Also awarded in the Portfolio category was Marco Urso, with the sequence of the Caracal cubs playing on a termite mound one late August evening (August 23rd 2011). We watched as the mother Caracal relaxed in the evening breeze as her two cubs played beautifully on a small mound. Completely by ourselves, watching one of the most elusive cats in Africa in a glorious setting.0