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Birthing season for elephant seals at Piedras Blancas

February 8, 2009 |  1:52 pm

It's birthing season once again for the Northern elephant seals at Piedras Blancas (just south of the Big Sur coastline, near San Simeon).  The group Friends of the Elephant Seal gives more information on what the giant pinnipeds are up to this time of year:

...pregnant females begin to arrive on the beach a little after mid-December with the first birth shortly before Christmas. Birthing peaks in mid-January with over 50 births a day on the beaches adjacent to the parking lot. The new pups have a shiny black coat and are often quite active. Indeed, with non-dominant bulls trying to invade the harems; mothers defending their section of the beach from encroachment by other females, pups, and even the big males; and the pups screaming for milk or misplaced mothers, the scene is the noisiest and most active of the year.

To see the Piedras Blancas elephant seals yourself, check out Friends of the Elephant Seal online.  (Want to see them from the safety and warmth of your own home?  The Año Nuevo State Park and Animal Reserve has installed a high-definition Sealcam!)

--Lindsay Barnett

Video: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

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