Paul Nicklen has been working for the National Geographic Magazine for a very long time already. He specializes in taking photos of and studying wild and dangerous animals. But he will never forget his trip to Antarctica.

He came there in order to document the biggest carnivorous seal of the world, the sea leopard. It looks powerful with a size of 3 to 4 meters and a head, which is even twice as big as that of a grizzly bear. Scary! I wouldn’t like to go into the water with this animal neither would I take photos of it during hunting.

However, what Paul Nicklen experienced would change the image of this marine predator forever. Indeed, there have been only a few attacks against humans, which probably also has to do with the natural habitat of this predator situated in the Southern Ocean, but this seal is still seen as being potentially dangerous. Shortly after Nicklen had entered the water, a big female started to approach him and played with his camera. She chewed away on it like a puppy would do on a shoe.

But that was not all. Shortly afterwards, she brought him living penguins which she carried in her mouth. After a while, she brought him injured and then dead animals. Paul Nicklen now understood. The sea leopard thought he was another marine predator that would be too weakened to go hunting. And so, she wanted to help him!

Paul Nicklen got the photos of his life! Never before had someone taken such pictures of sea leopards. No one knows what this sea leopard was thinking when Paul Nicklen left the water and whether it broke her heart or not.


Press release of the photographer:

Image Source: