This "one-in-a-million" shot shows an adorable Emperor penguin chick - with a HEART shape on its chest.

Wildlife photographer Sue Flood, 53, spent six weeks camping in extreme Antarctic conditions of -25°C to photograph the world's Southernmost Emperor penguin colony.

She witnessed some extraordinary moments - from waking up to dozens of penguins right outside her tent, to falling asleep in the snow and waking up to find a chick resting its wing on her palm.

Her collection of photographs - including her "one-in-a-million" shot of a penguin chick with a heart shape on its chest - will be compiled into a book documenting her journey, set for release later this month.

And Sue says she is "thrilled" that her photos have been selected to feature in an international campaign to create a vast new Marine Protected Area in the Antarctic's Weddell Sea.

Sue, from North Wales, said: "Penguins are definitely my very favourite thing to photograph.

"Of all the animals I've photographed in 30-something years of doing my job, I just think they're the most beautiful creatures in the world.

"I’m absolutely thrilled that my images are going to be used for conservation purposes and to hopefully help protect this incredible wilderness area.

"It's one thing when people like your photographs, but to use them to influence such an important cause is a real thrill for me. It's really rewarding."

Sue visited the Weddell Sea area of the Antarctic for six weeks in November and December 2017, to photograph the few thousand-strong Emperor penguin colony there.

She described her remote campsite as "colder than a freezer", saying her tent was pitched almost 450 miles from her nearest neighbours.

She joked: "It's really nice to be one of very few women working in this field - very few women are as adventurous, or perhaps as crazy, enough to go to the Antarctic.

"November and December is definitely the best time of year to photograph the penguins, as it is Antarctic summer and so they have 24 hours of daylight.

"I would wake up at 3am or 4am in the morning to find bright, sunny conditions, and look outside my tent to see a group of penguins standing nearby."

Describing the moment Sue spotted the unique penguin chick with its feather forming a heart shape, she said: "That really was my one-in-a-million shot.

"It's extremely unusual. Penguins typically have grey downy fluff when they are young, and then they start malting and getting adult fluff.

"One of the first places they start losing down from is their chest. But this particular penguin, with the heart on its chest, was just perfect.

"I spotted it in a big group of chicks hanging around together some distance away from me, and soon after I took the photo this chick disappeared into the group."

She added: "I've showed it to people since I came back and everyone says it must be photoshopped - but it's definitely not photoshopped."

Sue's extraordinary collection of photographs have now been selected to feature in a campaign by ASOC (the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition).

The campaign is calling on the international body tasked with safeguarding the Southern Ocean to create a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea, where Sue was camping.

The protected area will span a whopping 1.8million square kilometres (almost 700,000

square miles).

And, if successful, the Weddell Sea would gain the same level of globally-recognised

protection as the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the continent, and make it the planet's largest nature reserve.

Sue said: "The waters and ice-shelves of the Weddell Sea comprise one of our very last unspoiled eco-systems, but pressures on it and its wildlife are rising.

"So I am wholeheartedly behind the efforts of ASOC and many others to create a Marine Protected Area in this important part of the Southern Ocean.

"I feel both thrilled and honoured that my photographs have been chosen to help draw attention to the campaign and, hopefully, contribute in a small way to its success."

Sue added: "When I was at school, I always said I wanted to make wildlife films like David Attenborough, and I was told nobody gets to do that.

"And now here I am, doing just that. I really do believe I have the best job in the world."

Sue's book, Emperor: The Perfect Penguin, will be released later in September.