IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the high volume of traffic out to the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas during the elephant seal pupping and mating season, the park will be operating a shuttle bus system from the Drakes Beach parking lot (usually from New Year's to Easter each year on weekends and holidays—weather permitting). Most older males are a dark brown whereas females range in color from various shades of brown to blond. Some individuals at the time of moulting have been found in South Africa or Australia. Females reach 9 feet and 1,600 pounds. Donate - Give to and help raise money for agencies and nonprofit groups that protect habitat. Phoca leonina Linnaeus, 1758Macrorhinus leoninus (Linn. Photo by Frank Schulenburg. [2] John Edward Gray established the genus Mirounga in 1827. Title Northern Elephant Seal Range - CWHR M173 [ds1952] Publication date 2016-02-0100:00:00 Presentation formats digital map FGDC geospatial presentation format vector digital data Other citation details These are the same layers as appear in the CWHR System software. In 2012, marine biologists tracked a northern female’s progress as she descended to the amazing depth of 5788 feet under the surface. Protect Habitat - Prevent domestic dogs from roaming, follow park regulations and guidelines listed on this website and at trailheads. [10], The southern elephant seal is distinguished from the northern elephant seal (which does not overlap in range with this species) by its greater body mass and a shorter proboscis. The third subpopulation of about 75,000 seals is found in the subantarctic islands of the Pacific Ocean south of Tasmania and New Zealand, mainly Macquarie Island. [42] The well-being of southern elephant seals therefore mirrors that of the whole Antarctic ecosystem. Adult males weigh between 2,200-4,000 kg are average length of 4.2 m with a maximum of 6.2 m. In summer, the elephant seals come ashore to moult. Loss of habitat to beachfront development and human recreation has forced elephant seals and plovers to compete for limited protected space. Since then, the population of northern elephant seals has recovered at an average rate of six percent per year. the other breeding colonies of the Atlantic subpopulation are located on the Falkland Islands and Valdes Peninsula in Argentina (the only continental breeding population). 1975) and the northern elephant seal is no exception.Bonnell and Selander (1974) examined 24 allozyme loci in 159 seals from sites which encompassed much of the geographic range of the species, and found no variation. The streamlined bodies of seals feature four limbs which have … Elephant Seal Habitat and Diet The elephant seal is almost entirely aquatic, coming ashore primarily to breed. The oceans are full of food for millions of animals, but relatively few feed at the depths elephant seals prefer. [5] [6] [7] The average length of their dives is around 20 min for females and 60 min (1 hour) for males, as they search for their favorite food. Sensitive resources such as birds and plants are also affected by elephant seals. Recently Updated As top predators in the Southern Ocean, southern elephant seals inhabit one of the most sensitive and vulnerable regions to rapid climate change. Some individuals also breed on Amsterdam Island. Today, thanks to government protection and the seals' distant lives at sea, the worldwide population has grown to an estimated 210,000 seals. [11] Macrorhinus elephantinus. [23] Conflicts between high-ranking males are more often resolved with posturing and vocalizing than with physical contact.[23]. They are the deepest diving air-breathing non-cetaceans and have been recorded at a maximum of 2,388 m (7,835 ft) in depth.[27][28]. Imagine being able to live in such extremes! Northern elephant seals are found along North America’s Pacific coast, with a range that stretches as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mexico. Pacific harbor seal Phoca vitulina. 1989). Sharing the fate of many of the oceans' great whales, the elephant seals were hunted to the brink of extinction for their oil-rich blubber. The width of the eyes, and a high concentration of low-light pigments, suggest sight plays an important role in the capture of prey. Not only do they spend most of their life in the ocean, 90 percent of that time is spent underwater: eating, sleeping, digesting, and traveling. Southern elephant seal adult males are larger than the females, and sizes also range within the same sex in this species. As for the duration, depth and sequence of dives, the southern elephant seal is the best performing seal. Adult males use their large, inflatable noses during the winter breeding season to resonate sound when vocally threatening each other. In 1922, the Mexican government gave protected status to elephant seals, and the U. S. government followed suit a few years later when the seals began to appear in Southern California waters. In 1922, the Mexican government banned hunting, followed shortly thereafter by the United States government. Size: Male: up to 19 3/4 ft (6 m); Female: up to 9 3/4 ft (3 m); 0.6 - 2.3 tonnes (1,320 - 5,500 lb).. Slightly larger than their southern counterparts, these elephant seals range from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California. Elephant seals undergo a catastrophic molt (on land) where large pieces of their fur and skin slough off. They may use their stiff yet sensitive three to eight inch long whiskers to "feel" some food, such as Pacific hake, skates, rays, shrimp, small sharks and crabs. 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