Staring at the sharp-toothed jaws of a 12-foot-long leopard seal, photographer Amos Nachoum dared to bring his lens dangerously close for the perfect shot, fully aware of the danger.
The air temperature during the summer days is around 10 degrees Celsius, and the water temperature drops to minus one degree. Therefore, they had to use appropriate diving gear to ensure thermal safety while diving for about an hour. Only professional divers can perform this type of dive.
However, in addition to the dangers of facing the environmental temperature and water pressure when diving deep, scientific photographers also face danger from the Antarctic seal. This is the only mammal living underwater that is “war-wise” against humans.
“We were instructed by biologists that we should not invade the leopard seal’s space and provoke them in any way,” Nachoum said.
According to Nachoum, “Leopard seals are ruthless and silent predators. They ambush their prey by waiting quietly under the channels running along the island. Then, they attack their prey, grabbing them with their powerful jaws. One of the most familiar behaviors I have seen in the wild animal world is that leopard seals bring their prey to the surface of the water and shake it until it softens, and then they eat it.”
Although Nachoum has dived with great white sharks and photographed polar bears up close, his greatest fear is the leopard seal.
“I have seen them throw themselves into the rocks among a colony of penguins and ignore everything around them to catch a target penguin. They act alone, decisively against the chosen prey,” Nachoum said.
capturing wildlife images in their natural habitat is a challenging but rewarding experience. Still, it requires knowledge, skill, and bravery to face the dangers that come with it. For Nachoum and his team, facing the predator of the Southern Ocean was just another challenge they had to overcome to capture the perfect shot.
Tiny penguins face the face of death leopard seal
Despite trying to swim away as fast as possible, the penguin could not escape the control of the leopard seal
Young penguins often swim in the shallow waters of Antarctica, unaware that leopard seals are always here to hunt.
When they realized that danger was near, leopard seals quickly finished the hunt without making a mistake.
Strong jaws grip their prey, leopard seals can eat 12 fresh penguins every day
After catching prey in shallow water, leopard seals take their meal out into the deep water to enjoy
In addition to penguins, leopard seals sometimes eat mollusks such as squid or fish