Heartwrenching Tale of a Young Impala’s Encounter with a Lion
In a poignant twist of fate, an innocent baby impala approached a male lion, unaware that it would be its first and final encounter with the king of predators.
This captivating incident was documented by Sylvie Failletaz during an early morning game drive near Nyamepi campground in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe.
Sylvie recounts the story: “The day began with warm temperatures, reaching 25 °C in the early morning. Not far from the camp, we stumbled upon two male lions who had feasted on an adult impala the previous night. They were engaged in typical lion behavior—sleeping and lounging around.”
“After capturing a few photos and observing them for some time, we decided to wait a little longer. The sun gradually rose above the horizon, illuminating the surroundings. Given the sweltering morning, we hoped that the lions would seek shade, enabling us to witness something beyond their slumber.”
“Suddenly and unexpectedly, a baby impala ventured close and sprinted straight toward the male lion. In that moment, I thought, ‘No, no, no! Go away, it’s the wrong move!’ We couldn’t believe that the baby impala had dared to approach a male lion. I truly expected the impala to retreat as soon as it sensed danger, but it didn’t. The baby appeared bewildered and innocent, unaware of what the lion represented. It was likely their first and final encounter.”
“The baby impala walked right next to the slumbering lion, almost touching it. I hoped it would flee upon realizing that it wasn’t its mother. We wished that the lion wouldn’t take interest in such a small morsel, considering it had eaten the day before.”
“The lion slowly lifted its head and glanced at the baby impala. Then, swiftly, it sat up, wearing an expression that was both humorous and perplexed, as if to say, ‘Wait, what did I see? Am I dreaming? Has food come to me?’ I loved the expression—the cartoonish eyes.”
“Then the action began, unfolding with lightning speed! The male lion seemed sluggish at first but quickly gained momentum, capturing the baby impala, which stood no chance. Unfortunately, our car was turned in the wrong direction, preventing me from capturing the chase. Additionally, I had the wrong lens on my camera, leaving me disappointed. Nonetheless, I managed to capture a few shots that tell the story of what transpired.”
“It was the first time I had witnessed a chase from beginning to end! I felt incredibly fortunate and privileged to witness such an event in the wild, with perfect lighting during the day. However, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the unbelievably adorable baby impala. I had wished for a happy ending, but sadly, it was not meant to be. Nature can be ruthless, and in the wild, there are no rules.”