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Nov 13, 2014

Royal Penguins ignore seal commoner

Photo by Gunther Riehle/Solent News
This photograph was taken by Gunther Riehle on Macquarie Island which lies halfway between Tasmania and Antarctica   The island is actually closer to New Zealand and was once ruled by that country, before being returned to Australia, as part of Tasmania.   Macquarie Island is now a World Heritage site and is home to the world's entire Royal Penguin population during the annual nesting season.   In the 19th century the penguins were almost hunted to extinction.   Today the thriving penguin population lives at one end of the island and seals live at the other end.   How the Elephant Seal pup, pictured above, became swallowed-up by this flock of penguins is unknown but it certainly seems unperturbed by the encounter.   Perhaps it thinks it can turn the tables on the penguins and swallow one of them.   Actually, the main food of Elephant Seals is fish and squid, and a greater danger for the penguins might be being squashed by seals that can weigh more than 3,000 kilos or 7,000 lbs.  

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