Curious Leopards

As with most Antarctic wildlife, Leopard Seals are not afraid of humans. They haven’t been hunted in recent years and have no reason to fear humans in any way. For us, this is good news as it means we can get excellent views on them, especially while zodiac cruising.

During the previous trip, we had several excellent Leopard Seal encounters. It started with one swimming towards my zodiac, dive just underneath me and then swam a little while parallel with my zodiac before I changed direction. The second one was the one in the pictures, we found in the Lemaire Channel. This place usually has Leopard Seals on ice floes, but often, we cruise this passage by ship, and not by zodiac. This time we had a little more time, so we decided to lower the zodiacs and enjoy this stunning passage from a lower perspective. The Leopard Seal we found on the ice, deep in Deloncle Bay. Fortunately, the current brought him a little further out of the dense ice and close to our zodiacs. This allowed everybody to have a good look, and the seal to have a good look at us.20180308_Arjen_Drost_64157

The last one, was one while we were on a hill at Pleneau Island. Quite far away, but we could clearly see him catch a Gentoo Penguin, toss it around to turn it inside out and then eat it.

In the first part of my Antarctic season, I didn’t see any Leopards. It’s good to see them again!

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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