Los Farallones

Dispatches from Point Blue’s field station on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Action on the Beach

With only a handful of female elephant seals remaining on Sand Flat and Mirounga Beach, the bulls are vying for any last-minute mating opportunities. Bedlam Boy deserted the marine terrace harem with its one lingering cow, headed to Mirounga Beach which still had 8 cows, and kicked out former harem-master Mauricio. Not to be deterred, Mauricio moved onto Sand Flat and attempted to mate with a departing cow there. Rusty, the alpha male on Sand Flat and reigning elephant seal king of SEFI, bellowed his protest, forcing Mauricio to retreat.

Bull elephant seals are nearly 3 times as massive as cows,
as shown in the above photo of an attempted copulation by Mauricio on Sand Flat.

Bellowing with the large nose, a secondary sexual characteristic, is used as a display of dominance
towards other males. Dominant alpha bull Rusty, above, only needs to bellow and all other males retreat.

Finally, for those of you who can just never get enough of cute weaners (ourselves included), the photos below are offered for your viewing pleasure.