Deep in the Russian wilderness, the struggle for life and death is probably a daily occurrence. However, it's never been seen in such dramatic fashion as photos from The Zoological Society of London show.

Researchers working in the Lazovsky State Nature Reserve, in the far Eastern province of in Primorye have inadvertently captured 3 images of a golden eagle species attacking a sika fawn and eventually (off camera) taking it down.

Photo Credit: Linda Kerley, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

The images were taken by a trail camera originally set-up to expose poachers seeking rare Russian tigers known as Amur. The pics cover a 2-second period, and show an adult golden eagle latching on to the baby deer's back.

The carcass was found two weeks later, by Linda Kerley of the Zoological Society of London. She related to story to The Wildlife Conservation Society;

"I saw the deer carcass first as I approached the trap on a routine check to switch out memory cards and change batteries, but something felt wrong about it. There were no large carnivore tracks in the snow, and it looked like the deer had been running and then just stopped and died. It was only after we got back to camp that I checked the images from the camera and pieced everything together. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.”

Photo Credit: Linda Kerley, Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Jonathan Slaght of the Wildlife Conservation Society notes that "golden eagles have a long history of eyebrow-raising predation attempts. Scientific literature is full of references to golden eagle attacks on different animals from around the world, from coyote and deer, to one record in 2004 of an eagle taking a brown bear cub."

The scientists underscore that golden eagles do not regularly attack deer, and there is no evidence that such attacks have any impact on deer populations.

The images appear in the September issue of the Journal of Raptor Research.

In addition to the images, there are numerous videos on YouTube, like the one below, chronicling golden eagle predation on larger species.


Screw you dingos. We've got wings...