South Africa

The battle for survival in the seas: a plucky seal seems to be trying to distract a great white shark (the one that menaced the seaside town of Amity in the hit film Jaws) in an attempt to free a fellow seal in the fish’s mouth.

In fact, the seal is using a clever survival tactic. By sticking close to the tail and body of the shark, the mammal is actually able to stay well clear of the shark’s gaping maw. Often used in the wild, this impressive survival instinct is used to outmanoeuvre and eventually tire the predator into submission, making for a clean get away for the animal in danger.

The incredible pictures were shot near Seal Bay, South Africa, by the experienced wildlife photographer, David Jenkins, 42. Irish Mr Jenkins said: ‘I was tracking a group of seals that had been feeding out at sea and who were returning to the Seal Island.

‘They come in groups usually and they are constantly interchanging positions with each other as they travel to try to confuse any predators waiting below.

‘They started to move through an area of thick foam in the water when suddenly a large great white shark about four yards long exploded through the foam high into the air, catching one of the seals as it did so.

‘Some seals went back the way they had come, others made a break for the safety of the nearby island but one seal decided to follow the tail of the shark.

‘In the photo it looks as if it is trying to chase the shark but it is in actual fact trying to keep close to its tail and body, well away from its sharp teeth.

‘Sharks have great speed but the seals have amazing agility, I have seen a seal have three separate battles on the way back to the island and still make it home.

‘It was definitely a lucky escape for the rest of the group, there were about four seals altogether and anyone of them could easily have been caught.

‘When a breach happens you just have to get the camera pointed in the right direction as quick as you can and start shooting photos, then when the action is over and your heart is racing you get to see what you’ve taken.’