A stunning sequence of photos shows a cheetah riding on the back of an antelope on the Kenyan savanna before bringing the beast tumbling to the ground.
The ferocious big cat leapt up and sunk its claws into the hind quarters of the topi – one of the fastest antelopes – hauling it down before his brothers joined in and surrounded the frantic prey.
It was captured by Dutch photographer Dick van Duijn who was in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, tracking the five cheetah brothers known as the ‘fast five’.
‘We saw the cheetahs walking in the tall grass and a little bit further we saw a topi,’ the 34-year-old said.
‘The topi couldn’t see the cheetahs, because of the tall grass. Our game driver drove in front of the topi so we could see the hunt. Unfortunately, we were a little bit far away, because if we got too close to the topi we would scare him off – they are smart and know if a safari jeep comes close there is some danger from predators.
‘Once they started the chase it was such an intense moment. You cannot believe how quickly cheetahs can move.’
Renowned for their keen eyesight and dazzling speed, cheetahs are the world’s fastest land mammal, reaching speeds of 60mph in approximately three seconds. By comparison, topis are no slouches and can easily reach speeds of over 50mph – but the creature’s fleet feet weren’t fast enough to save it on this occasion.
Even so, the cheetah was forced to hitch a ride for a short distance before hauling the panic-stricken creature down.
‘In one of the photos it looks like the cheetah is riding on the back of the topi,’ said Mr Van Duijn, who worked in his parents fish shop before picking up photography as a creative outlet.
‘Lots of people spotted this. Somebody even composed a little melody by saying: ‘I’m gonna take my topi to the old town road, I’m gonna ride ’til I can’t no more’, inspired by Lil Nas X ‘Old Town Road.’
‘Not everybody was positive when I posted some of these photos to my Instagram and Facebook, but this is pure nature.
‘The cheetahs can’t go to the local butcher or supermarket to buy their food and there’s no option to go vegetarian. I lost a few hundred followers after these photos because they were too shocked.
‘I love this type of photography because I really like animals and nature and you never know what you are going to see when you’re out in nature.’
The Dutch photographer uses the Instagram handle, @dickvanduijn and has his own Facebook page.