Most antelope species are well-equipped to evade attacks from predators. The steenbok – a large-eyed, satellite-eared buck from southern Africa, Kenya and Tanzania – is a master at staying hidden and, if spotted, can accelerate with blistering pace, turning and twisting away from any would-be attackers.
One steenbok in South Africa’s Kruger National Park had its defensive abilities put to the test recently when it had to avoid not just a pair of jackals charging at it through the undergrowth, but also an aerial onslaught from an opportunistic eagle.
Footage of the attempted hunt was captured by field guide Shaun Etsebeth back in June. Etsebeth was on a game drive in the reserve when he stopped to admire a tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) perched in a tree. These sizeable raptors are fairly common in Kruger’s semi-arid savannahs where they dine mostly on carrion and occasionally hunt for meals.
Before long a pair of black-backed jackals burst onto the scene and joined the chase. These highly adapted canines are better suited to the task of hunting an adult steenbok, which would likely be too big a meal for a tawny eagle.