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Impala survives after shaking off five cheetahs in Kenya

In a miraculous escape, a frightening impala survived the attack of five cheetahs who attacked it in Kenya.

The male buck somehow stayed on its feet as the predators leapt on its back and dug their claws in to try and bring it down.

But incredibly the antelope fought itself free and fled.

The attack was captured in a remarkable series of photos by British photographer Kevin Rooney, 53, in the Naboisho Conservancy.

The photos show a mother cheetah, called Selenkei, pouncing on the 160lb beast and clinging to its neck as the impala stands firm.

Her four cubs then join the hunt and leap on its back as the buck desperately kicks and struggles.

Eventually it manages to shrug them off and bolts away from the exhausted cheetahs.

Mr Rooney, an aeronautical electrical engineer from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said: ‘We were with our wildlife guide who seemed to have a sixth sense for when animals would attack.

‘We managed to position ourselves so the impala was between us and our truck and then the mother cheetah, Selenkei, started stalking the impala.

‘She crept up until she was within attacking range and then pounced, catching the antelope after a few powerful strides.

‘After catching the impala, which was a large male buck, she attempted to bring it down but had no luck.

‘Her four cubs were soon on the scene and they all started pouncing all over the poor impala who just seemed to stand there.

Amazingly, after a few seconds, the impala managed to shake off the five fearsome predators and fled – leaving them in the dust. It was an amazing sight to see.’

Impalas are fleet runners who are able to leap distances of up to 33 feet.

They use this technique to escape predators and sometimes, apparently, simply to amuse themselves. The impala can also clear bushes and other obstacles by soaring some 10ft in the air.

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