A penguin and leopard seal face off
As emperor penguins return from the seas to feed their young, the other is free to go to sea to feed for itself. But – as David Attenborough narrates in this archive video clip from the 2001 BBC documentary series Blue Planet – dramatic scenes unfold as the penguins hesitate at the edge of the Antarctic sea ice, a leopard seal on the prowl in the waters just below.
Emperor penguins are excellent swimmers, but leopard seals – some of Antarctica’s top predators – are known for being fearsome hunters.
According to the International Association of Antarctica Tourism Operators, more than 35,000 people visited the white continent during the 2012-2013 season. During the tourist season, the summer months of November to March, leopard seals spend almost all of their time in the water, hunting among the ice just off shore.
All week, BBC Travel is running archive BBC Earth clips to celebrate more than 50 years of natural history film making by Sir David Attenborough! For more natural history exclusives, check out the BBC Earth YouTube channel or follow BBC Earth on Facebook or Twitter.