While traveling in Antarctica, Levi Tillemann captured wonderful rare footage of a lounging leopard seal who was singing aloud while lolling about on an iceberg. Tillemann thought it was a boat making the noise. He then believed it to be a bird. It turned out, however, that the low purring sound was coming from the happy seal, who seemed to be enjoying some alone time.
As we motored around Bulls Bay in semirigid inflatables called Zodiacs, I heard a strange noise. Initially, I assumed it was a Zodiac motor echoing off the glaciers. But the haunting melody sounded more like a tropical bid than an engine. We decided to investigate and found a large leopard seal, basking on an iceberg and singing his heart out. The sounds were otherworldly and echoed across a huge area.
It turns out that this was a rare thing to hear.
The Quark staff is filled with world class guides and biologists who are experts on the local fauna. None of them had ever heard a leopard seal vocalize, and surprisingly the biologists had never heard of leopard seals vocalizing on land (only in water).
Here’s footage of a male leopard seal vocalizing underwater.