Nature can be brutal, and this video capturing the moment a helpless baby seal feels the devastating force of a great white shark is sure to tug on your heartstrings.
Photographer Rainer Schimp, who is also a dive tour operator, captured the dramatic moment while leading a shark-spotting expedition. Here he describes what unfolded before his eyes in Mossell Bay, South Africa, at a time when brown fur seal puppies are common in the area:
‘We could see one of the seals swimming away from the island closer to the boat. As it swam away, we all realised that this was not a good idea for the seal, because the further it swims, the higher the risk of being taken by a predator.’
Next came a truly heart-wrenching moment, as Rainer explains, ‘The seal actually turned around, it looked back to the island as though it was realising this was not a good idea. The next second, the shark hit the seal and took it out.’
Great white sharks can breach the surface at an awe-inspiring 20mph, hitting their unsuspecting prey with the same force as a car crash.
‘The special thing is that this predation wasn’t provoked,’ says Rainer, ‘there was no decoy or artificial seal… there was no bait in the water… it was an absolutely natural behaviour and we were privileged to be able to witness it.’
Hmm, maybe the seal wouldn’t quite agree…