Incredible slow-motion shots capture cheetah accelerating to 70mph

 Many photographers would scarper if a cheetah ran at them at full pelt.

But Adalberto Mangini, 51, held his nerve to get these incredible slow-motion shots.

The big cat hurtled up an enclosed run at a top speed of 70mph as it chased a fake chicken.

The lethal predator is part of a breeding programme and will eventually be released into the wild. And the method seen here is part of its preparation, conducted by staff at the Mukuni Big 5 Safari in Livingstone, Zambia.

They taught it hunting skills using the pretend chicken pulled along on a super-fast zip wire.

Mr Mangini, a photographer from Milan, Italy, said: 'My body was completely covered with red dust afterwards. 'The cheetah was running so fast it just flew everywhere.

'These animals can accelerate from a walking speed to about 40mph in less than two seconds. 'It is always special to see them in action.'  Mr Mangini meticulously studied the cheetah's running pattern for a few days before deciding on the best spot to capture the graceful animal. But he admits he had still prepared an escape route should the cheetah not stop running.

He said: 'I was always ready to move quickly.'

Laura Bongiorni, who accompanied Mr Mangini on the trip, added: 'Young cheetahs arrive at the centre from different places, mainly from South Africa.

'The cheetah population in Zambia, as well as lions, suffered from a strong impoverishment.

'The centre started a very special cheetah breeding programme aimed at breeding captive cheetahs for their young to be released into appropriate National Parks and conservancies around Zambia where cheetahs once roamed freely but are now at a point of near extinction.'

 Mr Mangini, a sales manager, said: 'Even creatures considered by most people as very wild and dangerous can be approached if it is done in the correct way.

'Do not show any fear as they can feel it; make sure you respect them; touch them in the right place and talk to them, always - they will soon learn to recognise your voice.

'We found that cheetahs are easier to approach during the time you stay with them. They are competitive and love to win - and like humans, each of them has a distinctive personality.'

Cheetahs are the most vulnerable of the big cats and have become endangered because of loss of habitat and reduced numbers of prey.

Source : dailymail


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