A video has emerged of a terrified seal escaping a killer whale attack by climbing onto some rocks.
The incident—filmed by 27-year-old local resident and student Haydn Thomason—occurred on the coast of the Scottish island of Shetland.
“I thought it was amazing that the seal managed such a narrow escape! It must have been inches away from a different fate,” Thomason told Newsweek.
“I’ve never seen something like this in person. I’ve only ever seen the likes of this on nature channels. But we do see orcas in Shetland so frequently now, which is incredible. This was the first time I’ve seen a pod hunt so close to me.”
Thomason—who runs a fitness company—told the Daily Record that a pod of at least 10 orcas, including a large bull, had been chasing the seal.
Just moments before the video clip starts, Thomason said this large bull “whipped” another seal from the same herd out of the water with its tail.
“I was about 15 seconds too late in catching footage of the bull orca whipping a seal out the water. After seeing that happen, I immediately grabbed my phone and caught the footage I did,” he said.
“It was absolutely amazing to see something so dramatic and intense in person. Thankfully, it was a happy ending for the seal, who manages to escape as you can see at the end of the clip.”
In the video clips, the terrified seal that climbs onto the rocks can be seen waiting for a few moments before the orcas chasing it move away. The seal then jumps back into the water and escapes.
Thomason said he first became aware of the presence of the orca pod near the Shetland coast thanks to a local Facebook group.
“Once my [mother] Lara who is a local tour guide for www.shetlandtourguide.co.uk spotted the post showing they were there, I immediately rushed across town to follow them,” Thomason told the Record.
“We ended up tracking them for about an hour along the coastline of Shetland, causing a convoy of cars following them too. As we were following the pod, we realized that they were hunting seals along the coastline, which is an animal we see so commonly here in Shetland. Much to everyone’s delight, the herd of seals managed to get away—at least that’s what we hope.”