This is another one of those strange stories. We really don’t know how rare this is because apparently it hadn’t been caught on camera like this prior to now. But at any rate, check out the story for yourself.
There’s just three photos covering two-seconds, but they are very rare since they capture an event not seen before: A golden eagle swoops onto the back of a sika deer, drives it to the ground and (not photographed) kills it.
“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.” said lead author Linda Kerley of the Zoological Society of London, who runs the camera trap project.
“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.”
The photos quickly spread across the Internet prompting some to worry about the deer’s suffering.
The researcher told NPR the deer didn’t suffer … much:
“It is true that we cannot say for sure how the deer died, and it could have died from stress, but I do believe it happened quickly because the first vulture showed up and was photographed in the same camera trap just 68 minutes later followed by other avian and mammalian scavengers. This was the first time I have ever photographed a vulture in a camera trap so I assume they were attracted to the deer carcass. Tracks in snow also showed no indication that the deer struggled for long.”