A group of wildlife photographers unintentionally became a water taxi for a penguin whilst visiting the Antarctic. The penguin allegedly hopped into their boat to escape a marauding leopard seal, giving them all a close-up wildlife experience.
Russian wildlife photographer Vladimir Seliverstov captured the event unfolding from his position in the boat.
The Adelie penguin can be seen sitting on the bow of the boat, looking a little as if it’s stuck between rock and a hard place. It clearly isn’t too comfortable to be so close to humans, but at the same time re-entering the water with a hungry leopard seal also doesn’t seem like such an enticing choice.
The photographers take advantage of the situation capturing close-ups with their cameras and phones until they eventually drop the bird off on the next iceberg with other fellow penguins.
“Adelie penguin jumped into our Zodiac while we were cruising around an iceberg,” the caption to the video says. “He was escaping from a Leopard Seal and didn’t want to go back into the water so we decided to take him to the iceberg where his friends were waiting.”
The photographer later told the Daily Mail that despite photographing wildlife for more than twenty years he’d “never experienced something like this before,” although conceded that some of his friends had experienced something along similar lines.
Like most penguins, Adelie penguins tend to mate for life, and will actually grief the death of a mating partner. I’m sure that the other half of this penguin must be very grateful to the photographers on the boat for saving its mate from the jaws of the leopard seal!
You can find more of Seliverstov’s work on his Instagram account.