Saturday, February 6, 2010

Starving to Death

This birthing season has been extremely traumatic for the elephant seal pups and their moms as the unusually strong winter storms and extraordinarily high tides have been battering the beaches of the central coast of California almost non-stop since December, causing the size of the necessary dry beaches to shrink horrifically.

After becoming separated from their moms by the high tides time and again, many desperate elephant seal pups have taken to trying to find milk from other female elephant seals.

Unfortunately for them, the older elephant seal females tend to want to protect their single pup and chase off these motherless, starving pups by barking and/or nipping at them.

However, this year it's also been quite common to see younger females attempting to successfully nourish and care for multiple pups.

Despite this concerted community effort by so many young females, it has been and continues to be heart-breaking to observe countless immature pups starving to death after struggling for days to find enough fat-rich milk to keep them alive.

Click here to see more photos.

1 comment:

  1. It's a very sad situation for those seal pups, but very interesting how some of the mothers have essentially adopted some of the orphan pups.

    Great pics, as always!