By Alex Jones
HEART-STOPPING footage captures a terrified wildebeest cheating death by escaping the snapping jaws of a man-eating crocodile by just a matter of INCHES.
The breath-taking clip was filmed during the great migration across east Africa when hundreds of thousands of wildebeest cross rivers teeming with crocodiles and other apex predators in search of food and shelter. Whilst crossing the notorious Mara River, a frantic wildebeest is lucky to get away with its life after a surprise attack from a vicious nile crocodile. The mighty croc’s lunge doesn’t quite manage to grip the bewildered animal’s neck but instead rakes its razor-sharp teeth down the wildebeest’s flank as the herd animal breaks for the relative safety of the riverbank.
The fortuitous beast may only have been spared as the immense reptile had already enjoyed its fill of wildebeest, having snacked on several of the migrating creatures already.
The striking footage was captured by award-winning photographer Chris Bray (36) during one of his numerous trips to Kenya. A seasoned explorer who has travelled across the world searching for wildlife, Bray admits his ‘heart was in his mouth’ as he watched the crocodile approach the frenzied wildebeest.
“Every year hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and topi migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Massai Mara in Kenya and back again, following the rains and grass, which requires they cross the notorious Mara river, which is loaded with hungry, huge Nile Crocodiles that wait for this moment all year,” explained Bray, who grew up on a sailboat travelling around the World.
“In this footage, one huge nile crocodile has spotted a crossing wildebeest and cruises over to it, bangs into it and makes a lunge for it, but amazingly the wildebeest somehow manages to JUST pull away enough to escape, with the croc’s teeth scraping down its side. The croc was not really trying hard enough, as it’d already eaten plenty of wildebeest and was full. One lucky wildebeest!
“My heart was in my mouth, it’s absolutely life or death for the wildebeest, and pretty dramatic to witness. I was totally hoping the wildebeest would escape as I’ve seen way too many eaten. Filming as steadily as I could in super slow-motion I knew this was going to be awesome footage as the scene unfolded in front of me, and I was pretty excited to play it back after to check it worked. It did!”
Getting such eye-catching footage is simply another day in the life for Bray, who was named ‘Young Adventurer of the Year’ by Australian Geographic in 2004, even though he was photographing a man-eating beast, responsible for the deaths of an estimated 200 humans every year.
He explained: “My company ‘Chris Bray Photography’ runs small-group photo tours to the world’s most incredible wildlife experiences on Earth from Antarctica to the Arctic and everything in between, including Kenya!
“This was my 23rd tour to Kenya, and it’s still always as exciting as the first time – I already can hardly wait to go back next September with another group!”
For more information, please visit https://chrisbrayphotography.com