The wildlife photographer in Africa took a picture that showed how determined a mother is to protect her baby from danger.
Ateeb Hussain, a 39-year-old photographer, went to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in southwestern Kenya. While there, he watched an eagle take a jackal pup from its mother.
Hussain describes a dramatic scene in Maasai Mara: a jackal mother was so determined that it caused a tawny eagle to drop what it had caught, which was a jackal pup that it had just taken away from its mother.
Hussain is originally from Kolkata, India, but now lives in Dubai, UAE, where he works as a retail operations manager. He has been taking wildlife photos in wild places for 12 years. His current main focus is on African wildlife.
The background of the photo
On September 19th, 2021, there was a very tense moment between the eagle and jackal families when the yearly wildebeest migration was happening.
At around 8 o’clock in the morning, we were on our way to a certain spot, the photographer informed PetaPixel. We had heard about a leopard and a potential crossing, so we were headed in that direction. Suddenly, we saw a mother jackal carrying a pup in its mouth, moving quickly.
We stopped a short way away to watch. Our guide told us it is likely this family of jackals were looking for a new home. This spot was full of animals that were migrating and had lots of hyenas. At first, we planned to stay and watch for about 5 minutes before leaving.
After watching for a while, we noticed the Jackal was very cautious and tense. There were a lot of Hyenas in the area, which could be why it wanted to move kind’s. Every couple hundred meters the Jackal would stop and keep the pup hidden while it checked the area. Typically, Jackals don’t worry too much about safari vehicles and allow them to get close to it, but since this Jackal looked stressed, we decided to stay a fair distance away and follow it from a parallel direction.
After waiting and watching patiently, the group’s luck changed and something amazing began to happen in front of them.
About ten or fifteen minutes after they started, a tawny eagle swooped down and tried to take the pup away from the mother jackal. Hussain said the jackal dodged the eagle, which landed somewhere else and stayed, watching. The jackal kept going, stopping every so often to look around. The eagle tried again a few times, but the jackal was too quick.
The eagle had a few unsuccessful attempts, but eventually it managed to catch its prey. It only lasted a few seconds. The eagle grabbed the pup, and the jackal tried to take it. However, the pup ended up slipping away while in the air.
The jackal pup seemed to be okay after almost being captured, and the eagle couldn’t manage to get a hold of the pup with the protective mother jackal close by. After a few more tries, the eagle gave up and flew away.
The photographer said they followed the jackal for around a kilometer until they saw it meet up with its partner at a new den. The whole experience lasted an hour or so.
“In all my years of exploring the wild, I don’t recall encountering a more rare and dramatic interspecies interaction. The pup was quite lucky that it was dropped and it survived the attempted grab.”