New photographs taken by Indian photographer, Srikanth Santhinathan, show the dramatic moment a mother giraffe tried in vain to defend its one-day-old calf from a lioness in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Park.
The images show when the mother and baby giraffe were chased down before the adult lion pounces on the baby and savagely breaks its neck to feast on it after the mother’s desperate but fruitless attempt to ward off the predator by kicking her legs out towards it.
A giraffe’s neck allows it to keep an eye out for predators, but babies are incapable of this, making them easy targets for wild cats.
‘One morning we watched the large giraffe and noticed the lioness stalking it from behind. And just two minutes later the baby giraffe was gone,’ said the photographer Srikanth Santhinathan who captured the moment.
The mother tried to kick away the lion but unfortunately she was not able to, the neck of the giraffe was broken by the pounce of the lion.
‘And after that the lion went in again and started eating the baby while the mother giraffe ran away and we just watched the lion eat the baby for almost twenty minutes.’
‘I get a lot of messages on Facebook about this photo saying, ‘why didn’t you save the baby giraffe?’ But photography is not about interfering with nature, things go how things go and whilst it is sad, we should also respect the ecosystem,’ he added.
My emotions were mixed, one out of love for the giraffe but one of understanding for the lions. As the lioness who was five-to-seven years old had her cubs to feed.
‘The mother tried to wake the baby giraffe, but it was not responding. Based on the skin tone from the knowledge of my guide, he sadly confirmed that it was one day old.’
See more photos below…