Dive Pacific 171 Oct- Nov 2019

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If penguins could fly, by Eduardo Del Álamo, Spain

Highly Commended 2019

A gentoo penguin, the fastest underwater

swimmer of all penguins, flees from a leopard

seal. Eduardo was expecting it. He had spotted

the penguin resting on a fragment of broken

ice. But he had also seen the leopard seal

patrolling off the Antarctic Peninsula coast,

close to the gentoo’s colony on Cuverville

Island. Leopard seals are formidable

predators. Females can be 3.5 metres long

and weigh more than 500 kg, males slightly

less. They hunt almost anything, from fish

to the pups of other seal species. They also

play with their prey, as here, with the leopard

seal pursuing the penguin for more than 15

minutes before finally catching and eating it.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II + 100–400mm f4.5–5.6

lens at 110mm; 1/2500 sec at f10; ISO 1000.

Last gasp by Adrian Hirschi, Switzerland

A newborn hippo, just days old, was keeping

close to its mother in the shallows of Lake

Kariba, Zimbabwe, when a large bull suddenly

made a beeline for them chasing the mother,

then seized the calf clearly intent on killing

it with the distraught mother looking on.

Adrian’s fast reaction and fast exposure

captured the shocking drama. Infanticide

among hippos is rare but may result from

the stress caused through overcrowding

when their day-resting pools dry out. A male

may also increase his reproductive chances

by killing young that are not his, triggering

females to go into oestrus, and becoming

ready to mate again.

Nikon D750 + 400mm f2.8 lens; 1/2000 sec at

f6.3 (-0.7 e/v); ISO 640; Gitzo monopod.

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