Aug 5, 2009
These shots capture the splendour and horror of a great white shark weighing two tons leaping 10ft from the water as it closes inevitably on its victim.
After reaching speeds of up to 35mph on its ascent from the depths, the shark uses serried ranks of razor-sharp teeth to tear into the seal.
The wildlife photographer Chris Fellows spends over half of each year waiting off the coast of South Africa to capture the sharks at their grisly work.
These dramatic pictures, taken near Seal Island, in False Bay, are part of a decade-long campaign to promote positive awareness of great white sharks, which are classed as “endangered” largely due to being hunted by man.
On occasion the photography team used an artificial lure to attract the sharks before snapping them in action with the seals.
“The sharks feed on young seals when they are attempting to return to Seal Island after a few days out feeding,” Mr Fellows said. “The sharks will bite the seal, typically in half in the first go, and then come round and pick the other half up. It is all on the surface and it happens in a few minutes.”
The average great white in the waters around Seal Island measures between 12-16ft, with the biggest being a near 20-feet long giant spotted in 1997.
Mr Fellows added: “When children see a shark eat a seal they feel sorry for the seal, but it’s like a lion catching a zebra – it’s a natural phenomenon.