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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Into the jaws of death: Moment Great White snaps up seal pup and swallows him whole

By Mail Foreign Service

Swimming for its life: A single seal pup zips through False Bay near Cape Town, South Africa, as it is chased by a Great White shark

Skipping along the surface off the coast of South Africa, this seal pup seems to be moving a little faster than usual.

And the reason soon becomes clear as a Great White is on his tail - and there is only one likely outcome.

What happened next is captured in a stunning sequence of pictures taken by a British tourist as the 17-foot predator pounces and in a raw demonstration of its dominance simply picks up the doomed creature and wolfs it down.

Gotcha: The Great White closes in and grabs the unfortunate seal pup, whose fate is sealed

Top wild life photographer, David Yarrow, 45, from Glasgow travelled to False Bay near Cape Town in South Africa and over nine days he spent a total of 27 hours lying in the floor of his chartered boat to photograph the great white sharks as they hunted at dawn off the coast.

After so many hours of failing to snap a shark by the David was patient, lucky and skilled enough to capture this decisive moment of nature at its most raw and dramatic.

'This is not a comfortable image - it was an uncompromising moment captured just ten yards from the boat,' explained David.

'The chaotic chase was on for about three minutes and it was animal behaviour very few get to witness.

'The raw imagery will remain in my memory for as long as I live.

Flipping heck: The 17ft shark neatly lifts the slashed seal pup out of the water as it squirms desperately

Down the hatch: The Great White opens up its mighty jaw to swallow the seal pup whole - caught on camera by David Yarrow, from Glasgow

'I had the right lens, the right light and the right experience.

'After so many hours of nothing and increasing self-doubt, I think I had earned the moment, but equally I know how fortunate I was.

'It is a shot that I will always treasure and made the 50,000 miles of air travel worthwhile.'

While the majority of a shark's life is spent under the water, David decided he wanted to show this incredible hunter dramatically breaching the ocean waves.

'Great Whites are one of the most feared and yet less photographed predator species,' said David.

'Only off the coast of South Africa can its behaviour be realistically seen above sea level.

'Their kills almost always occur under water so capturing them above the surface was a huge challenge.

'This picture was consequently a huge adrenalin rush for me.

'I was lucky to have pre-focused on the right homecoming seal on the horizon and then 'bang'.

'No one knows 'what lies beneath' - so I was a lucky boy.

'I nearly cried when I put the camera down.'



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