Dramatic footage captures wildebeest's lucky escape from crocodile's jaws
A wildebeest has had a very lucky escape after a close encounter with a crocodile.
The shocking footage was captured by 36-year-old wildlife photographer Chris Bray in the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya, overlooking the Mara River. And at first, the outcome looked inevitable.
This is the moment the crocodile narrowly avoids clamping its jaws down on the lucky wildebeest:
In the clip, the wildebeest can be seen wading through the murky water, unknowingly being approached by the crocodile. However, when the crocodile finally decides to attack, fate intervenes and it misses the animal's head by inches.
The wildebeest was moving as part of a mass migration of animals from Tanzania to Kenya in September.
However, this is prime feeding time for the many Nile crocodiles who inhabit the murky waters looking for an easy meal.
While wildebeest might be easy prey for crocodiles, they are impressive animals in their own right. Their migration involves traveling a whopping 500 to 1,000 miles, and this journey often involves swimming across waters like the ones above in their single-minded pursuit, according to the Natural Habit Adventures.
Related: This couple's romantic late-night swim was interrupted by a predatory croc:
In fact, the Washington Post reports that a total of 6,000 wildebeest are killed on the Mara River every year. (Although, maybe now that number will have dropped to 5,999 now!)
But it's not just wildebeest who migrate, giving crocodiles many a meal, they are also followed by other animals including gazelle and zebra, which are prime targets for these apex predators too.
This bloodshed, amazingly, helps the ecosystem in more ways than one, researchers at Yale University found, and it helps to keep the entire ecosystem on the river thriving.
"It's like you’re dropping a lot of steaks in the water," said Subalusky, a postdoctoral scientist. "The river comes alive. Fish start leaping. Predators start moving toward the bank."