Wild Tales: Backstory Of Viral Cheetah Hunting Pic Is False

Photographer Alison Buttigieg in a Facebook post clarified that the bizarre backstory associated with the image is false.

An image of two cheetahs preying on an impala is being shared with a bizarre backstory that the antelope sacrificed her life to save her calves from the cheetahs. The claim further states that the photographer, who clicked the animals in such a situation , went into depression after witnessing this painful moment.

BOOM found that the photograph was clicked in September 2013, by photographer Alison Buttigieg in Kenya's Maasai Mara. Buttigieg in a Facebook post rubbished the bizarre backstory viral with the image.

The caption of one such Facebook post reads, "This photo is one of the best photos in the last ten years because it brought its owner (photographer) into depression: The story says: These two cheetahs attacked the deer at a time when she was playing with her little boys. The deer had a chance to escape, and the distance and survival was in favor of it, but decided to surrender itself to the panthers like this. Why?? To give her children a chance to escape... Because if she escapes first, there won't be time for her children to escape. The picture is the last minute of the mother with her throat in the mouth of the panthers steadily looking to make sure that her little ones escaped peacefully before being predated..."

Click here to see the post and here for an archive.


The photo was shared on Twitter as well.

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Fact Check

BOOM ran a reverse image search on the photograph and found the image uploaded on a blog of a photographer named Alison Buttigieg. Buttigieg had taken the photo in Maasai Mara, Kenya, in 2013.

Buttigieg stated that the photograph was clicked in a situation where a cheetah was teaching her cubs how to kill their prey; however, they were playing with the animal instead of killing it.

She wrote in the blog, "I witnessed this Cheetah kill in September 2013 in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Narasha, the cheetah mom, was teaching her youngsters how to kill prey. However they were a bit slow on the uptake and they were playing with the hapless Impala prey instead of killing it. Narasha, the cheetah mom is the one that is grabbing the impala by the neck in all the photos. The youngsters practice some skills like pouncing and tripping which they get right, but they cannot seem to be able to get how to strangle the impala effectively."

The impala was later killed by the mother cheetah. Buttigieg further wrote in her blog that she was amazed to see how calm the impala was throughout the ordeal. "It is probably in shock and thus paralysed with fear," she wrote on her blog.

We also found Buttigieg's Facebook post from 2017 where she clarified that there is no truth to the viral claim with the photograph.

Buttigieg's post reads, "My Stranglehold photo went viral with a completely ridiculous fake story accompanying it, and implications I fell into depression after I took it (seriously who comes up with this crap?!?) - not to mention the gross copyright violations. Sensationalism at its best - complete fiction so that people get more likes on their page."

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Updated On: 2021-06-22T16:20:40+05:30
Claim :   Photo shows a deer sacrificed herself to cheetahs to save her offsprings.
Claimed By :  Facebook User
Fact Check :  False
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