A defenseless gazelle tries to outrun a leopard’s stealthy pursuit in its dramatic final moments

These incredible pictures show the dramatic final moment’s in an antelope’s life before its caught by a powerful leopard.

The leopard spots its prey in the Kruger National Park, carefully stalking it while hidden in the foliage until it is close enough to launch its assault on the unsuspecting deer.

It’s prey embarks on a rapid escape plan, speeding away from the predator as it runs for its life to try and escape its jaws.

The chase: These incredible pictures show the doomed antelope running for its life as a leopard pursues it at rapid speed

Last-ditch: It’s prey embarks on a rapid escape plan, speeding away from the predator as it runs for its life to try and escape its jaws

Final blow: The antelope eventually loses the battle, with the powerful cat lifting its body into the air to get a grip with its vice-like jaws before throwing it back down to the ground

Forgone conclusion: The antelope never really stood a chance against the leopard, who grasps its prey as they both tumble in the dust until the powerful cat emerges on top of the antelope

Fly on the wall: The incredible moments were caught on camera by wildlife photographer Harry Byron, 54, from Pretoria, South Africa, who spotted the leopard on the prowl

Vast contrast: Mr Byron first spotted the leopard walking towards him about 30 metres from the road, when he jumped onto a large rock to relax and clean himself

Springing into action: The cat then spotted a Steenbok (small buck) on the opposite side of the river bed, grazing, so he daintily leaped off the rock and started stalking the buck up the bank

But it never really stood a chance against the leopard, who grasps its prey as they both tumble in the dust until the powerful cat emerges on top of the antelope.

The incredible moments were caught on camera by wildlife photographer Harry Byron, 54, from Pretoria, South Africa, who spotted the leopard on the prowl.

Mr Byron said: ‘We saw the leopard walking towards us about 30 metres from the road when he jumped onto a large rock to relax and clean himself.

‘He then spotted a Steenbok (small buck) on the opposite side of the river bed, grazing; so he daintily leaped off the rock and started stalking the buck up the bank.

‘He slowly advanced closer and closer towards the prey, and also camouflaged himself between the shrubs.’

The photos show the sheer speed and agility of both animals, as they kick up the dust, with the deer now known to its predator and attempting to get away.

Killer instinct: The cat slowly advanced closer and closer towards the prey, and also camouflaged himself between the shrubs, before he launched an all-out attack

Good contest: The photos show the sheer speed and agility of both animals, as they kick up the dust, with the deer attempting to get away. But before long, the leopard pounces on the antelope and gets its jaws around the defenseless animal’s neck

 

Not sharing: The leopard growls to warn any onlookers to stay away and it can later be seen dragging the meal up a tree where it will be safe from scavengers trying to take advantage of its hard work

But before long, the leopard pounces on the antelope and gets its jaws around the defenseless animal’s neck.

Harry added: ‘When the cat was within striking range of the deer, it pounced on it at lightning speed.

‘With little chance, both animals tumbled down the side of the bank with the prey fighting for its life.

‘In the end, the cat strangled the buck, dragging it up the bank towards a tree. It was all over in seconds.’

The prey fought for its life, attempting to jump and kick the cat away, but with frail legs that look as if they could snap at any time, the leopard was one up against the buck.

Later it can be seen dragging the meal up a tree where it will be safe from scavengers trying to take advantage of the leopard’s hard work.

Rough and tumble: This Steenbok has no chance onece they hit the floor as it struggles to escape the claws of a very hungry leopard

Playing dead: It is almost invisible as it curls up into a ball to try and avoid the deathly clinch of the hungry big cat

Death blow: The leopard finishes if its prey by wrapping its jaws around the animals neck until it finally gives up the struggle

Fighter: The antelope gives every last bit of energy it has to fight off the huge cat but the result was inevitable

Aggressive: The leopard shows its power as it forces the antelope into the mud and bites at its back during the battle

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