In a moment reminiscent of the classic children's book The Tawny Scrawny Lion , a wildlife photographer caught a pack of cheetahs in a remarkably benevolent mood—sparing the life of a young impala. In fact, after the cheetahs chased down and trapped the impala, they only subjected it to some light batting about, licking and nuzzling before allowing it to flee.
Officially, it's a rare example of what happens when cheetahs catch an animal they're too full and tired to eat.
No word on whether said impala has five fat sisters and five fat brothers, or whether they were able to convince the cheetahs to become pescetarians. And, yes, I know it's the Daily Mail. But come on, it's cute. And there's photographic evidence. Go check out the rest of the pics.
Edited: Sadly, I may have been led astray. A couple commenters posted a link to the full series of photographs. It looks like (brace yourselves) the Daily Mail made the story up and (again, brace) the cheetahs actually ate the baby impala after all. Photos (at least, the pre-death ones) are still cute, though. And The Tawny Scrawny Lion is still an awesome book.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.