December 8, 2017
Around the Rookery
- as seen by -Kelsey Kovner
On a recent trip to California, I had the chance to visit the elephant seal rookery in San Simeon. As I envisioned the day, I was imagining the large males with their iconic trunks fighting, napping, and swimming. However, after arriving at the beach, I came to learn that most of the males were out at sea, migrating north towards Alaska and their preferred foraging sites along the coast. What remained were some young pups and sleepy females. While still very impressive in size, the ladies of the species don’t possess quite the nose I was looking for.
Taking a moment to yawn, this seal rests among a cluster of others, some of whom are undergoing their yearly molt. Elephant seals shed their fur once a year on the safety of dry land. While out at sea, they need this fur to keep them warm in the arctic waters.
One day, I will have to go back and visit the colony to see the elephant seal’s eponymous trunk.