A slight departure… The Leopard Seal and the Photographer.

You might ask what a Leopard Seal has to do with horses…

Nothing, really… except that they have the capacity to bond with man.

And even though this blog is not about Leopard Seals, it is about humans bonding with animals.  At the core, my blog is about shining a light on the human/animal relationship.

Today, this story touched me, so I’m passing it onward.


Hubby and I are on a family reunion-type trip up in Oregon.  Today, we all went to downtown Ashland to walk around, 11 abreast, and pull ourselves into 11 different directions.

When Hubby saw a bookstore, I knew we were going in.  And, I’m glad.  It was a really special little spot.  (It is called BLOOMSBURY BOOKS, if you are ever in town…)

One of my bound treasures was a book called UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS by Jennifer S. Holland.   The book contains several stories of animals friendships between different species.  As you can see by the cover, one of the journals inside was about a baby monkey and a dove.

This is the cover of the book.



I wanted to share a passage from the Introduction by the author:

“On a Darwinian note, evolutionary biologist Marc Bekoff of the University of Colorado, who has written extensively on animal sentience, puts it like this:  “Evolutionary continuity – a concept that came from Charles Darwin – stresses that there are differences in degrees rather than in kind between humans and other animals.  That applies to emotions.  We share many bodily systems, including the limbic system, where emotions are rooted.  So if we have joy or sorrow, they have it, too.  It isn’t the same joy or the same sorrow.  But the differences are shades of gray, not black versus white.”  Nurturing feels good to us, Bekoff says, so why wouldn’t it feel good across species?”



There are many stories in the book I’d love to recount for you.

I chose this one because it is between a human and an animal (versus and animal and an animal).  And, it seems that the human in this story will be forever changed by this encounter… and I found that moving.


Looks a little scary to me...

(I’ve photographed the pages as the story is short and I thought you might want to read it yourselves.)

Here it begins saying that the Leopard Seal is a fierce animal from the Antarctic who rarely sees a human and if they do, they have been known to attack.  So, for National Geo photographer, Paul Nicklen, he knew to keep his distance.

The beginning page...


This next graph tells of how the Seal came to admire Paul, much to his consternation.  She swam around him and eventually presented him with a meal.  When he didn’t take it, she seemed to show him how to properly eat and then offered him another.  This went on and on… for several days.

The following page... top

The following page... bottom


Finally, this graph tells of his admiration for the female seal and how he loathed to leave her behind… He says the experience was ‘magical’.


Last page



It is time now to go back to the family who are telling stories, laughing and bonding in the next room.  And although I know I will enjoy joining them, and I know I will enjoy bonding with them – truth to tell – part of me would love to have an incredible animal encounter waiting for me in the next room that I would remember as ‘magical’ for the rest of my life.

But then again, we all probably do have that animal in our lives right now.  We are just familiar with its form.

She tried to feed and nurture her new friend...


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!



Please help rehab Itsuko, a great granddaughter of Native Dancer who had 99 starts, won 100K, had several foals and then was … forgotten and starved.  And, Admiralty who was winched to a trailer.  Click here to learn more.

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. KW

    Great story! Plus, Bloomsbury ROCKS! Wonderful finds in that cute independent bookstore.

  2. Arliss

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of the leopard seal and the photographer. So beautiful it made me cry. I must get this book!

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