I'm having you ... for lunch: Awesome display of shark's power as it closes in on seal


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

source: dailymail

The surreal wonderland of creepy-crawlies: Photographer creates fantasy world - on his kitchen table without digital trickery


Slugs, snails and other creepy-crawlies might not be to everyone's taste, but as these photographs reveal, they can help create stunning works of art.
Photographer Nadav Bagim has created a surreal wonderland of giant toadstools, pastel skies and brightly-coloured flora in which insect characters roam.
Nadav, 30, from Ramat-Gan, Israel, took up photography three years ago and immediately became interested in shooting nature and macro landscapes.

Magical world: These out-of-this-world scenes were created in Nadav's kitchen using insects he found around his home

He finds his subject matter - spiders, crickets and other bugs - in and around his apartment, and shoots most of the scenes on a kitchen table.
Titled The Wonderland Series, Nadav, a science student, said: 'It is being composed by using a unique but rather simple and elegant artificial lighting and household objects form vegetables to plastic bags.

The slug and lettuce: Some of the surreal images created by photographer Nadav Bagim
'The photos are shot mostly in a miniature studio on my kitchen's table with a Canon EOS 60D Camera, and a Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and flashes. They are real and not a digital manipulation.
The outcome is a beautiful and magical set with a fairy flair to it.'
Nadav pointed out that none of his subjects are harmed during the photography sessions.

In the pink: This slug appears perfectly content in its florescent landscape

source: dailymail

This keeper should remember that elephants never forget: Calf is hauled by his trunk to get on the weighing scales


Ouch: The zookeeper pulls on the baby elephant's trunk as she resists climbing on to the weighing scales

Zookeepers in Germany appear to have come up with a novel way of getting reluctant baby elephants to behave.
These pictures, which some may find disturbing, show a young man dragging a resistant calf by the trunk to get it on to the weighing scales for a check-up at Wuppertal Zoo in Germany.
Uli is one of around 5,000 animals of 500 different species living at the park, who all have to be counted, weighed and measured each year to see if they are developing as they should.

Distress: The calf looks frightened as she rears away from the weighing scales during the annual check-up

Weighty problem: Uli's face is pressed into the ground as the man continues to pull her towards the scales

But whether this sort of treatment is likely to help is a matter for debate.
Dressed in khaki trousers and a green sweatshirt, the zookeeper grabs the little elephant by the end of its trunk and pulls.
The man even climbs on to the scales to get some grip on the animal, who appears distressed, her ears flapping wildly as she braces herself against the metal edge of the scales to avoid getting on.
As another zookeeper and a fully grown elephant watch, Uli's head drops to the floor and her face is pressed into the ground.
But no one intervenes, and the Wuppertal worker does not let go of the elephant's trunk for a second.
He finally successfully tugs her on to the scales, where he gives the downcast-looking creature a gentle pat.

Downcast: Another zookeeper and two elephants gaze at a miserable-looking Uli as she finally stands still on the scales

Ears flat against her head, the subdued animal trails her trunk against the blue metal, and weighs in at 480kg (1058 pounds).
The seemingly unhappy elephant is only small for her species, where an adult can weigh six to eight tonnes (12,000 to 14,000 pounds).
The photos have caused some concern over whether this is appropriate treatment to inflict on a young animal.
Uli's home, Wuppertal Zoo, opened in September 1881 and has steadily expanded ever since.
It has enclosures and zoo buildings for elephants and apes, a house for birds with a more spacious hall in which they can fly freely, and a small combined aquarium/terrarium.
A spokeswoman from Peta (People for the Ethical treatment of Animals) said: 'Handling a baby elephant by the trunk - an extremely sensitive organ - is cruel as it partially asphyxiates them.

Sympathy: The zookeeper gives Uli a reassuring pat - but it appears to come too late

'As a veterinarian with over 40 years of experience working with elephants and other captive exotic animals recently explained, “Trainers do this to enforce their dominion… by controlling the very air or life force of the baby.”
'The handler is also carrying a metal implement known as a "bullhook", the only purpose of which is to inflict pain and punishment by striking, hooking, and jabbing elephants in the most sensitive parts of their bodies.
'Their use is abusive both psychologically and physically. Methods of protected contact, based on positive reinforcement, makes this type of cruel and frightening handling completely unnecessary.'
An RSPCA spokesman added: 'There are extreme welfare problems involved with keeping elephants in zoos and are calling for an outright ban on importing more elephants into zoos in England and Wales.

source: dailymail

Putting the PAN in chimpanzee: Kanzi loves nothing more than a good fry-up, skipping a few million years of evolution in the process


Skill with a skillet: After slaving over a hot stove, Kanzi tucks in to his creation

Eagerly he collects wood from the ground, snaps the branches into small pieces and carefully balances them in a pile. Then, taking care not to burn himself, he gently strikes a match and gets ready for a fry-up.
Like all red-blooded males, Kanzi loves messing around with a barbecue. But then, as these extraordinary pictures show, Kanzi is no man. He is a bonobo - pygmy chimpanzee - and his love of fire is challenging the way that we think about our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.
For although bonobo apes and larger chimpanzees use twigs and leaves as tools, none has ever shown such skill for cooking food.

Kanzi is one of eight bonobos in the care of Dr Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, one of the world’s leading experts in ape behaviour and language. She believes 31-year-old Kanzi’s fascination with fire reveals a deep intelligence.

Kanzi carries his barbie in a backpack (left) before finding some dry wood and breaking it down to size

Dr Savage-Rumbaugh, of the Great Ape Trust, in Des Moines, Illinois, adds: ‘Kanzi makes fire because he wants to. He used to watch the film Quest For Fire when he was very young which was about early man struggling to control fire. He watched it spellbound over and over hundreds of times.’
He was also fascinated by the camp fires his keepers made to cook food. And he was encouraged to interact with humans and copy them. At the age of five, he was making small piles of bone dry sticks.

The chimp searches for the perfect site for a camp fire then carefully piles sticks onto a bed of dry leaves

He was taught to use matches, a skill he picked up quickly. There’s something eerie about watching Kanzi strike a match. The way he then holds the flame - taking care not to burn himself - is remarkably human.
‘Fire is one of the most important factors in our evolution,’ says Dr Savage-Rumbaugh. ‘When humans learned to control fire and to domesticate dogs we began to feel a new level of safety which freed us to become creative and to create more sophisticated cultures.’
‘Fire enabled us to cook meat, which helped break it down and meant we could eat more of it. Plants we cooked on fires were made more digestible. In short, cooking led us to eating better, which meant we developed large brains.
‘We sat around in communal groups cooking, stoking and simply watching the fire - a situation in which language and conversation started to develop.’

His hands look almost human as he strikes a match and, with a look of satisfaction, watches the smoke start to rise

Kanzi - the name means Treasure in Swahili - does not stay close to make sure his fire stays lit. But he does throw on more wood from a distance. And he has learned how to cook. He will take a marshmallow, stick it on the end of a twig and hold it carefully over the flames, ensuring it doesn’t burn.
He can place a grill pan on the fire and cook hamburgers. When he has finished with the fire, Dr Savage-Rumbaugh asks him to put it out using a bottle of water. He will carefully pour the liquid over the flames until it has been extinguished.
Kanzi is now incredibly passing on his skills to other apes. His son Teco, who lives in the same research centre, watches Kanzi as he solves problems. The researchers believe he may learn to make fires, too.

Healthy flames, it's time to set up the barbecue and then get the pan on

Kanzi, who weighs 12st, is the brightest of the apes at the Great Ape Trust. With two other apes at the centre, he uses paper keyboards to communicate with Dr Savage-Rumbaugh and fellow primatologist Liz Pugh.
In conversation with the researchers he points to symbols, known as lexigrams, on the keyboards representing different words.

A few treats go in and Kanzi stirs them expertly

He has learnt to ‘say’ around 500 words through the keyboard, and understands 3,000 spoken words.
Bonobos are one of the most endangered species and there are around 10,000 to 50,000 left in the wild, all in Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo. They share 98 to 99 per cent of their DNA with us.
For Kanzi’s own safety, he is only allowed to make fires under close supervision. But his behaviour raises fascinating questions.

And for dessert... he pops a marshmallow on a stick and toasts it with care

What would happen if he was released into the wild where other bonobos could copy his behaviour? And could wild bonobos learn how to master fire independently just like our own ancestors?
You don’t have to be a fan of the Planet Of The Apes movies - in which intelligent apes threaten mankind’s supremacy on the Earth - to find those questions disturbing.

Just right: The barbie ape enjoys his pud... whose turn to do the washing up?

source :dailymail

Who won the Jaws versus Killer Whale death match? Shark comes off second best


Predator: The fin of an orca breaks the surface of the water as it stalks the school of sharks close the shore

Swimmers might think twice about cooling off at this beach.
The normally placid waters were transformed into a spectacular feeding ground as a group of orca whales attacked a school of sharks.
The sharks had been swimming close to the shore on Boxing Day at the Blue Cliffs Beach in Tuatapere, New Zealand as the orcas - also known as killer whales - stalked them through the sea.
Moments later the hungry whales sent the feared fish scattering through the waves as they sprung their assault.

Tussle: Fins and tails flap into the air as the feeding frenzy beings at Blue Cliffs Bay in New Zealand

In a spectacular display of natural predators at work, the whales herded the sharks toward the shore to force them into shallow waters.
One shark desperate to escape from the enormous beasts even beaches itself on the sand. It is seen desperately flapping around in a bid to escape the whales, which were unable to move onto the sand.

Fierce: One of the killer whales moves through the water as the outgunned sharks are herded towards the sand

The incredible feeding frenzy was captured on film by residents who said they had never seen a display of such aggression from the orcas.
As witnesses gathered on the shore, one plucky dog couldn't resist trying to get involved and can be seen approaching the stranded shark before barking at it.
Eyewitness David Evans said he was told there were whales in the area and raced to the beach to record the spectacle.

Stranded: A shark flaps on the sand after deliberately beaching itself to avoid being eaten by the enormous beats

'We all piled in the truck and grabbed a camera, grabbed the video and went down to the beach and just started shooting,' Mr Evans told 3News in New Zealand.
It is thought that there were around six whales and six sharks in the water. Although one of the sharks had a nasty gash to its side, it's not known if the whales managed to catch their dinner.
'That particular [injured] shark had been beaten up by the orcas,' resident Tracy Thomas told stuff.co.nz.
'There were heaps of sharks just off the beach, swimming in towards the beach then turning around and going back out.'

Ruff justice: A dog belonging to a local resident ventures up to the shark to get involved in the action

The dog, known as Flea, walks around the defenseless shark which cannot go back into the depths as the whales are still lurking

Peter Robertson said his dog, Flea, had gone into the water when it became excited by what was happening.
He added: 'It would appear the whales were fighting the sharks ... the sharks were coming ashore because they didn't want to be in the water.'
Orcas are significantly stronger, faster, heavier and larger than even the most ferocious of sea beasts - the great white shark.
It is not known what species the attacked sharks were. However, they were much smaller than the orcas and would have come off worse in most clashes.

Orcas feed on seals, sea lions, large fish and sharks - although it is rare to see such a aggressive display of hunting so close to the shore.
However, the hunting tactics and prey species vary between different pods of orcas.
Jim Fyfe, a marine ranger at the Department of Conservation Otago office, said that sharks are 'well within the range' of orcas.

source: dailymail

Feeling more than a little peckish: Birds jostle to eat fleas from backs of antelope


Form an orderly queue! Bank myna birds graze on fleas from the antelope's fur in Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India

It was definitely a case of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours as these birds queued up to snack on fleas from the backs of strolling antelopes.
And these nilgai antelopes were more than happy to provide a resting place for dozens of bank myna birds who plucked irritating fleas from their backs in Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India.
The nilgai were feeding in their grassland home when the birds decided they wanted a snack of their own and landed on their backs, necks and heads.

Photographer Chhotu Khan, who lives in the national park, said it was a rare phenomena for all the birds to land in such a formation.
Amazingly, the nilgai did not seem at all bothered by the birds pecking at their fur.
Mr Khan, 28, said: 'I was there to do some bird watching when I saw a flock of bank mynas fly from nearby trees and land on the nilgais' backs. They landed on all the nilgai, including the juveniles.

I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine: The antelope looked more than happy to have the birds on their backs in these stunning photos

'The birds fed on fleas and other bugs, cleaning the nilgai of these harmful insects.
'The birds sat there for 20 to 25 minutes and I was very happy to get this shot because it does not happen very often.
'The nilgai do not get irritated because they know that the birds are doing them good. I did not see them making much of an effort to get away from the birds.'
He added: 'Wildlife is so unpredictable and you never know what you may experience and that is the beauty of this.
'I was very happy to be able to capture the birds and the relationship between the species.'

Grazing: It was a lengthy snack for these bank myna birds who stayed on the antelope's back for around 25mins

source: dailymail

OK, who's going to take away his lawnmower this time? Grumpy crocodile steals machines from park keepers to play with in pool


Grumpy: Elvis the crocodile decides to steal a lawnmower off a worker at the Australian Reptile Park

They are among the most fearsome creatures around, often attempting to eat humans and large wild animals.
But workers at a reptile park in Australia were left amazed today when its grumpiest crocodile decided to steal a lawnmower.
Employees at the Australian Reptile Park, north of Sydney, realised something was wrong when they heard one of the keepers let out a yelp.

'It's mine': Elvis takes his new toy into his lagoon and keeps guard of it

When they looked up they saw 16-foot giant saltwater crocodile Elvis lunging out of his lagoon at reptile keeper Billy Collett, who attempted to ward off the huge crocodile with his lawnmower.
Tim Faulkner, operations manager at the park, said: 'Before we knew it, the croc had the mower above his head. He got his jaws around the top of the mower and picked it up and took it underwater with him.'

Interest: Visitors soon gather in amazement to see Elvis next to his new lawnmower

Elvis then kept guard over his new toy, making it clear that it would not be wise for anybody to retrieve it.
Eventually, Mr Faulkner realised he had no other choice but to go back in after the mower.

Rescue: Reptile keeper Billy Collett feeds Elvis following the daring rescue attempt for the lawnmower

Back to normal: The lawnmower is safely back in the possession of the park keepers, with a grumpy-looking Elvis watching on

Lost items: Australian Reptile Park operations manager Tim Faulkner, left, and reptile keeper Billy Collett with Elvis the crocodiles teeth, which were lost after Elvis bit into the lawnmower

Despite having to give up the lawn mower, Elvis was clearly pleased with himself, Mr Faulkner said.
'He's beaten us today ... he's kingpin. He's going to be walking around with his chest puffed out all day.'
As for the staff at the reptile park?
'I can't lie, the bosses are not going to be happy about the cost of a new lawn mower,' Mr Faulkner said with a laugh.

source: dailymail

Gentlemen look away: Angler snares deadly fish that killed two men by biting off their testicles


Brave: Jeremy Wade, pictured with the ferocious 'Ball Cutter' fish which has killed two men by biting off their testicles

An intrepid British angler today told how he snared a predator which kills men - by biting off their testicles.
Fearless Jeremy Wade, 53, spent weeks hunting for the fish in remote Papua New Guinea after locals reported a mysterious beast which was castrating young fishermen.
He finally unmasked the perpetrator as the Pacu fish - known locally as ‘The Ball Cutter’ - and managed to catch one in his small wooden fishing boat.

Fierce: The pacu fish have human-like teeth and powerful jaw muscles

Mr Wade wrestled the 40lb monster on to the floor of his boat and opened its snapping jaws with his naked hands - to discover a jaw-dropping array of human-style teeth.
The Ball Cutter boasts an impressive set of man-like molars, which tear off the testicles of unwitting hunters, leaving them to bleed to death.

source: dailymail