Penguin's dash to escape the jaws of a leopard seal

Swim, little penguin! Incredible moment leopard seal on the hunt SPARES a helpless bird after a heart-stopping pursuit through icy waters on Seven Worlds, One Planet

  • David Attenborough’s new documentary Seven Worlds, One Planet airs Sunday
  • Show provides a new battle of wills – the best since iguana versus snakes in 2016
  • Tense scene sees a penguin try to escape the jaws of a leopard seal in Antarctica 

Everyone remembers that epic heart-stopping chase between a pack of racer snakes and a gutsy marine iguana on Planet Earth II in 2016.

The nail-biting pursuit on Fernandina Island in the Galápagos, dubbed ‘the stuff of nightmares’, became a viral sensation and even won a Bafta for ‘Must see TV moment’ of the year.

Now David Attenborough is serving up yet another deadly battle of wills – this time between a hungry leopard seal and a plucky penguin. 

Seven Worlds, One Planet, which airs on Sunday evening, features a segment shot in Antarctica, where the crumbling glaciers are advantageous to leopard seals hunting vulnerable penguins.

Seven Worlds, One Planet, which airs on Sunday evening, features a segment shot in Antarctica, where the crumbling glaciers are advantageous to leopard seals hunting penguins

David Attenborough delivers yet another deadly battle of wills – this time between a hungry leopard seal and a plucky penguin

Yesterday a clip was released on Twitter of a penguin making a deadly dash for freedom, pursued by a grinning seal.

Realising it’s being chased, the penguin accelerates through the icy waters, deftly chopping and changing direction with the determined seal hot on its tail.

As it reaches the safety of rocks, there’s a sigh of relief as the bird, rather clumsily, dives out of the water and waddles away from the shore and the deadly jaws of its nemesis, watched by a colony of larger penguins.

But this bird is not out of the woods yet, as Attenborough reveals it’s ‘back to square one’, with the penguin having no choice but to ‘run the gauntlet again’.

Realising it’s being chased, the penguin accelerates through the icy waters, deftly chopping and changing direction with the seal hot on its tail

As it reaches the safety of rocks, there’s a sigh of relief as the bird, rather clumsily, dives out of the water

This time it battles its way through sludgy ice lying on top of the water, using its wings to drag its body along the crumbling surface while the seal circles below.

At one point the predator seems almost playful, popping its head above the waves and toying with its prey as it struggles to get away.

Safety is finally in sight for the brave little bird, as it spies an iceberg and hops out of the water.

Moments later the seal follows suit, pulling its blubber-laden body onto the ice.

Clearly both exhausted, the pair then engage in a tense stand-off, with the seal responding to the penguin’s cries with throaty roars.

The penguin waddles away from the shore and the deadly jaws of its nemesis, watched by a colony of larger penguins

But this penguin is not out of the woods yet, as Attenborough reveals it’s ‘back to square one’, with the bird having no choice but to ‘run the gauntlet again’

Thankfully, the seal then appears to decide it’s perhaps not worth it after all, and slopes off back into the freezing ocean – enabling viewers to breathe a hearty sigh of relief.  

The stunning new series, which has been four years in the making, puts a conservation message ‘at the heart’ of each episode. 

Speaking at its launch, Sir David said the influence of humans on the planet was ‘everywhere… and we made a tragic, desperate mess of it so far’.

At one point the predator seems almost playful, popping its head above the water and toying with its prey as it struggles to get away

Clearly both exhausted, the pair engage in a tense stand-off, with the seal responding to the penguin’s cries with throaty roars

In mortal danger, a penguin tries desperately to escape the clutches of a leopard seal in Antarctica

But he added: ‘At last nations are coming together and recognising that we all live on the same planet… and we are dependent on it.’

Asked what can be done to save the Earth, Sir David, 93, said: ‘The best motto is not to waste things.

‘Don’t waste electricity, don’t waste paper, don’t waste food – live the way you want to live but just don’t waste.’ 

Seven Worlds One Planet airs on Sunday at 6:15pm on BBC One. 

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