Whenever the world believes that the Elephant seals became extinct, as they were declared three times until now, the turn back on the shores, to mate. Currently, there are 225.000 to 230.000 Elephant seals and their favorite place is the Beach of San Mateo County in California.
The mating season is only a few months long for Elephant seals, and after that, they will return to the sea. Until now, scientists thought that their journey doesn’t go far away from shore, but they were wrong. In fact, the investigations have found that the Elephant seals travel from the US to Russia every year.
Patrick Robinson, reserve director for the Año Nuevo UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserve, talking from his point of view and from his colleagues, says that they all wondered what did these beautiful creatures do at sea. As a result and motivated by this tenacious curiosity, the US Office of Naval Research united with the collaborators from Japan and hey put together a plan in order to observe the movements of the Elephant seals in the open ocean. Because they didn’t know where the seals went and what could the conditions be there, the explorers attached a small camera on the body of the seals to observe what kind of fish they eat and what kind of activities they do.
The camera footage has shown that males prefer spending their time in the Northern Pacific, whereas the females are fond of the Northeast part of it.Terry Kisser, who works as a ranger at Año Nuevo State Park says that the Elephant seals spend 90 percent of their life in the ocean. A mature male seal reaches 15 feet long and his figure is vigorous: 5.400 pounds. The females are more delicate, reaching 10 feet long and weighing only 1.500 pounds.
In the early years of the 1800’s, the Elephant seals were declared extinct because the maximum number of existent adults was 30. However, in 1957 they found a way to come back and presently they go regularly to the Año Nuevo Island. They begin arriving by mid to late December, especially the females, that carry around with them a heavy pregnant belly. Baby Elephant seals stay with their mothers for about a month, time in which the female must protect herself for being impregnated again.
As far as food is concerned, adult Elephant seals don’t eat anything while they are on the island. They begin eating only when they return to the sea, where they hunt different kinds of fish every day, being close to reaching Russia soon, as scientists believe.
Image Source: National Geographic