Southern Elephant Seals
Falklands Islands
November 2009
Southern Elephant Seals are the biggest seal and aquatic carnivore species. The species was nearly extinct after being
heavily exploited due to hunting for their oil in the 19th and early 20th century by sealers. The population has recovered;
today to a stable population of approximately 700,000 individuals seals in their Antarctic and sub Antarctic habitat. The
Southern Elephant Seal is one of the most interesting animal species in the world holding different "world records". It is the
mammalian species with the biggest sex difference in weight and deepest diving depth. Males reach 5-6 m in length and
3,000-4,000 kg in weight and are many times heavier than females with a body weight of 300-900 kg and length of 2-3 m.
Aside from the massive body size the tremendous, the nflatable large trunk-like proboscis of old males is responsible for the
species' name.
Elephant Seals often sleep in Tussock Grass. Walking through the Tussock Grass was always a little scary. One never knew
when one would stumble over a giant seal. One of the best ways to anticipate Elephant Seals was to listen to a big farting
sound. Although it sounded like farting, it is an almost continuous musical sounding burping sound which would sometimes
causing us to  laugh loudly at the serenade.
One of the best times to visit Seal Island to visit the Elephant Seals is in September. That is mating season with awesome
fights among the big males. By the time we arrived, the Elephant Seals were dispersing. Based on our previous two trips to
South Georgia, it seems like the season begins a few weeks later on the other side of the convergence zone.

Unfortunately, we were a little early for the Sea Lion season. The sea lions in the Falklands are huge.
Curiously, the sea lions we saw all ran from us. We were warned not to get between them and the water as they can move very
fast and be deadly.
On a couple days, we saw Orcas cruising off of Sea Lion island looking for a seal lunch.
Below, Jackie with a humpback whale skeleton on Carcass.
Below, a pilot whale carcass on Pebble Beach Island.
Thanks for reading.