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Patagonia Pinnipeds

August 8, 2014

Patagonia Pinnipeds

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Julie Larsen Julie Larsen

I hear the southern elephant seals before I see them. They are concealed among the dunes by their crinkled coats. Only their snorts and sneezes give them away.

I count scores of seals at the edge of the ocean where they lay like silvery surf. These are the weaners, one-month-olds that have switched to this moniker. They are still young, but no longer pups. They have just been weaned from their mother’s rich milk.

The weaners are perpetually napping. In the near future, they will learn to swim and fish, and become full-fledged elephant seals. One day, they will return to this place—their place—to start the next generation.

But elephant seals have competition for their beachfront property.

The Patagonian shelf is one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Although the area is cold and remote, its abundant resources attract oil exploration and commercial fisheries that set up camp and push to expand.

With guidance and on-the-ground research by the WCS Argentina program, the local government has created protected areas in Patagonia to safeguard southern elephant seals and their neighboring dolphins, penguins, and other seabirds. The protection promotes sustainable activities and environmental education.

Nikon D2

Peninsula Valdes, Argentina Map It


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Laura Kester
August 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

What beautiful creatures they are! I have always had a soft spot in my heart for seals, sea lions and the like. As a kid, I had a love for all animals, especially dachshund dogs! (and still do!) so, when my parents took me to the zoo and I had my forst glimps of the seal exhibit, I thought that they were huge dachshunds with flippers!! So, still today, I adore watching tv shows and videos about seals and their relatives … also DACHSHUNDS!

JoAnne Gilmore
August 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I don’t know how we can fix the world ? There is so much evil greed going on and more ? I feel for all nature ! If I only had a magic wand ?

August 29, 2014 at 6:12 am

If i have the power of managing, i would do great things to all species

August 31, 2014 at 9:03 pm

they’re beautiful!!!