In a captivating display of learned behavior, a female cheetah named Malaika at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya climbs onto tour vehicles as a means to gain elevation to make it easier to spot prey on the horizon.
Sanjeev Bhor, a wildlife photographer since the age of 10, captured such a moment in an image he has submitted to the 2013 National Geographic Photography Contest.
According to Bhor, Malaika’s habit of using Jeeps as a hunting tool was learned from her mother, Kike, who learned it from her mother, Amber.
Bhor called the photo “Dare to Dream,” but not because the cheetah was dreaming of her next meal. It was for the “brave” woman who surprised him, and perhaps the cheetah, by popping up out of the Jeep’s roof and taking close-up photos without any regard to the dangerous predator. “Her act was so rare that someone Dare to Dream [sic],” Bhor wrote. The man behind her did, too, apparently.
Bhor’s intriguing cheetah photograph is among more than 1,000 photos already entered in the contest, which ends November 30. Here are a few fascinating samples, led (above) by Bhor’s photo:
I was very lucky of sighting and photographing Malaika, the name of the female cheetah at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. (Malaika generally means “angel” in Swahili). She is well-known for her habit of jumping onto vehicles. She learned that from her mother, Kike, and Kike from her mother, Amber. We saw Malaika hopping onto the Jeep and scanning the horizon for prey. I was lucky to see and capture this act of her by camera. And surprisingly the lady who was so near to the cheetah was so brave that she started taking photographs even though she was so near to predator. Her act was so rare that someone Dare to Dream.
Two praying mantises appear to be boxing on a narrow twig in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, located at the foot of Ahir Mountain. The mantis insect family has more than 2,400 species. It is commonly called a praying mantis because of the insects’ prayer-like posture with folded fore-limbs.
Carezza Lake is a pearl of the Dolomiti [in Italy]. Nestled between an ancient forest of grand firs and the Latemar Mountain, it is place of legends and beauty. A nymph lives under its emerald waters. I threw a little stone in the water to add a little mystery to the scene.
Eastern Screech Owls like to take over woodpecker nests that have been dug out over the years in pine trees, which are the main species of tree at this swamp. Fish and Wildlife also paints a white ring around the base of a tree that has active nests in order to avoid when conducting controlled burns. Screech owls can range in height anywhere from 8 to 10 inches, so you have to have a sharp eye to find these little birds of prey.
I spent the first few weeks of April this year photographing the grey morph screech owl that was living in the nest and had no idea there were three owlets inside.
This area is known as Çankiri Salt Cave and is believed to have been operated by Hittites (3,000 B.C.) 5,000 years ago. This area has the largest rock salt reserve in Turkey. This area started 25 kilometers east from Çankiri, and rock salt production was made by the mining method “room and pillar system.” Although a relatively narrow entrance gallery, the galleries where production was made resemble highway tunnels. Salt cavities, 400 meters under the Earth’s crust, thick of blood vessels, separated orderly rooms and pillars. In other words, parallel galleries designed in salt cavities.
We just went to search for the leopard in the morning, but we found a group of giraffes come toward a small lake that start drinking. It was a nice moment when the giraffe finished drinking and left a letter “S” with a motion in the air.
Autumn sun pours into Punch Bowl Falls [on Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Oregon] to create some stunning atmospherics. I didn’t have long to capture the moving light beams, so I frantically started shooting as soon as I arrived on the scene.
While photographing hummingbirds in British Columbia I shot this male Rufous just as he fanned out to show his authority when another male Rufous appeared over my head.
Photo and caption by Graham Erik Mandre/National Geographic Photo Contest
The picture is captured using special hide placed to the primeval forest in Finland [sic]. High trees offer protection to the brown bear cubs being vitally important to survive from all dangers around them. Bear cubs are threatened especially by the other male bears, who might attack and take their lives without any doubt. Thus fast climbing on trees is one of the most important skills for bear cubs in order to survive, and they are always ready for it.
Photo and caption by Peter Allinson/National Geographic Photo Contest
Rare photo of a tongue parasite in an Anemone fish, taken in Komodo, Indonesia.