Empathy

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR

In this heartbreaking moment I watched a King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) stumble out of the waves with a gaping wound, no doubt the result of a Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) attack. Disorientated, it stopped and a Sheathbill (Chionis albus) opportunistically began to peck the wound. The penguin barely had the energy to lift its flipper to dissuade the scavenger. Another penguin approached and stood next to the injured bird, and remained there looking down empathetically.
Sub-Antarctic Islands
Canon EOS 5D MkII Canon EF 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6 IS USM lens, 1/800, f5, ISO 400

by Scott Portelli, New South Wales