National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen received an unexpected gift of a penguin from a predator.
In the video below, Nicklen explains what happened when he went to the Antarctica to do a shoot on leopard seals.
These aren’t the 100 pound seals you see at the zoo.
These are massive creatures who weight over 1,000 pounds. They also have a reputation for fierceness.
In 2003, a scientist was killed by a one, the first human fatality caused be a leopard seal.
They also eat Happy Feet. We’re a very emotional species. We think penguins are cute and leopard seals are ugly therefore leopard seals are bad and penguins are good.
But Nicklen says he was determined to see for himself what the leopard seals were really like up close. On his first day, he and his crew anchored a sailboat and came across a very large leopard seal.
Nicklen got into the water with his camera and began shooting. At one point the leopard seal put her mouth over his camera.
“The most amazing thing happened. she did this threat thing…She came back and had a penguin by the beak. Swam towards me and took off.
Nicklen kept shooting as the leopard seal brought him one penguin and when he didn’t eat it, the leopard seal brought him another one.
Nicklen said the biologist in him doesn’t want to anthropomorphize the leopard seal but she seemed to get frustrated with him for not wanting to eat the penguin she brought to him.
Leopard seals have a particular killing method for eating penguins–they also eat fish and other seals. They grab the penguin and with their mighty jaws, thrash them about on the water until the penguin’s skin peels away. The carcass is then eaten.