I try very hard not to post about cute, cuddly animal pictures. There’s enough of that on social media. However, today I could not resist passing on this wonderful picture by photographer David Gray of Reuters show a leopard seal entranced by the sounds of a saxaphone. The photograph was taken on August 19, 2013at the Taronga Zoo in Sidney, Australia. IT shows Steve Westnedge, the zoo’s elephant keeper playing his sax for a Casey, the leopard seal.
It was done as part of a study on the animal’s reactions to sounds. A reader recent commented about cross-species interactions, and I agree that this is really one of the wonderful points about life on planet Earth – that we can interact in a meaningful and mutually conscious manner with other species. In this case the seal occasionally responds with his own sounds.
I am reminded of the famous first line of William Congreve’s “The Mourning Bride,” “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” Before I take heat for accusing this soft, warm-blooded, and cuddly leopard seal of having a savage breast, I’d like those of you who haven’t seen or don’t remember the movie “March of the Penguins,”to consider this image by Ben Cranke of Solent News showing a panicked penguin narrowly escaping the gaping jaws of a hungry leopard seal. The point is well made in the movie “Jurassic Park.” Animals are not intrinsically good or evil. They do what they do because they are programmed by nature to do it. Still as Gray’s picture so poignantly shows they possess the origins of our souls.