By MARY MCCONNELL
Awesome power: The seal fails to escape from the great white shark off the coast of South Africa
In a breathtaking display of power and agility a seal tries to escape from the jaws of a great white shark seconds before it becomes lunch.
Travelling through the water at an incredible speed the tiny cape fur seal is dwarfed by the enormous shark, which is hunting off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
The incredible series of images show the constant struggle for survival for the animals that live on Seal Island in False Bay where around 12,000 seal pups are born each November and December.
Ocean battle: The great white shark attempts to grab the seal
Taken over three years by wildlife photographer David Jenkins, these pictures illustrate exactly why great whites are considered one of the world's most precision predators.
David, 39, said: 'I have travelled around many places in the world but this was the most incredible thing I had ever seen - it has to be seen to be believed. It's an awesome display of power and agility. When a shark suddenly explodes out of the water and you see it close up through the lens you get one hell of a shock.'
Lunchtime: The seal fails to escape from the jaws of the great white shark
'At the height of the season there can be between 30 to 50 sharks in the area, although you will be lucky to see more than five,' he added. 'Their hunting success rate is very high - almost 50.
'But the shark is up out of the water and back in less than a second, look the wrong way or blink and all you will see is a splash.'
Freelance photographer David, who also works for the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust in Zimbabwe, first witnessed the sharks breaching in 2009 and quickly became enthralled.
Jaws: This tiny cape fur seal tries to avoid becoming lunch for this great white shark
Shark attack: The seal makes a last ditch attempt to avoid being killed by the great white
Since then he has returned to the same spot year after year studying the interplay between predator and prey.
He said: 'If the shark manages to get the seal straight away then you are just stunned at how quickly it can happen and the power and speed and athletic ability of the shark.
'However, like any other life and death battle in the wild, if the shark misses on the first strike and the interaction between predator and prey can be observed, it is hard not to start cheering for the seal.'
The jaws of defeat: The shark finally gets its kill
Friday, December 30, 2011
By MARY MCCONNELL