Snatching defeat from the jaws (and claws) of victory: Lucky wildebeest escapes hungry lioness’ clutches

A lucky wildebeest escaped the claws – and jaws – of a hungry lioness in a heart-stopping set of snaps.

It looked like it was game over for the solitary wildebeest when the big cat decided he was on the menu, but remarkably the mammal zigzagged his way to freedom by running at full pelt while kicking dust into the predator’s eyes.

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Professional photographer George Turner captured the thrilling sequence while in Etosha National Park in Namibia, South Africa.

George from Winchester, Hampshire, said: “I’ve seen so many hunts I almost forget them unless they’re special – which this was.

“The most notable element of it all was the build-up.

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“The lioness had positioned herself in front of a watering hole, she was just sunning herself after a chilly night with no intention of hunting.

“Then on the horizon a lone wildebeest starting walking toward her. As it got within around 100m of the lioness she went into stalk mode.

“At the closest point, and just before the hunt started, the wildebeest was just 30m from the lioness.

“Then she pounced – chasing the wildebeest directly toward my vehicle.

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“The wildebeest ran in ‘S’ shapes, kicking dust into the lioness’ eyes. At the closest point the lioness was just 30 cm away from the wildebeest but it managed to survive.”

George, who has been photographing wildlife since he was a teen, said he was thrilled with the photographs.

George said: “After the hunt was over I checked my LCD display for sharpness and was delighted I’d kept both my mental and camera focus steady.”