Sunday, September 6, 2009

Leopard Seal News

I guess since I am not heading south, the online news people are going to rub it in. This was posted on BBC Earth News. It is a series of photos of Leopard Seals. The article that prompted the photos was a paper in the journal Polar Biology from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) staff at Bird Island off the coast of South Georgia concerning their observations of a Leopard Seal killing and eating a South Georgia Pintail. There isn't much about the paper other than a couple of photos of the actual predation event, but from the paper abstract I was able to see that the note describes how rare the event is since most flying birds can evade Leopard Seal attacks by flying away. Perhaps this pintail was going through molt and could not fly. The authors also emphasize how opportunistic and varied Leopard Seal diets are and the seal they observed attacking the duck was individually recognizable and had been observed eating Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins as well as Antarctic Fur Seals.

This Leopard Seal and pup were hauled out on the pack ice last year.

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