Sept 17, 2016 - Elephant Seal Rookery

 The males are really mammoth.  They weigh up to 5000 pounds and can be 16 feet long.  The room that I'm working in is 13 feet by 14 feet, which is reasonably big.  I'm comfortable working in just a corner of it.  There are two big sliding glass doors that I can look out to see my back yard and bird feeders and keep an eye on Beans while she chases the squirrels out of the yard.  But if I were an elephant seal, I wouldn't be able to stretch out on the floor.  Actually, if I took out all the furniture, I might be able to lie down diagonally from corner to corner.  Still, I wouldn't be able to type using flippers and would probably smell up the house even worse than I do now.  This is getting off track.  I meant to just imply that even though the photos don't have anything in them for comparison, the actual animals are large.

    These animals were hunted almost to extinction in the 1700's and 1800's to use their blubber to make oil for lamps.  Their population was reduced to under fifty individuals.  So they were on the absolute edge of extinction.  One more enthusiastic hunting trip or one more bad accident and they would all have been gone.  The development of kerosene took away any commercial use for these animals, so they started to come back some.  In the early 1900's, Mexico and the U. S. began protecting them.  The first seal came back to this part of the California coast in 1990.  The first pup was born in 1992.  By 2014 there were 5300 born.  The California coast  (Piedras Blancas) population is currently 23,000 and the world population is around 200,000.  So this is a heartening story of recovery.  When we stop killing the Earth, she can come back.

    I've included a few of my seal photos here and will put a bigger collection in a Flickr photo album that you can get to from the home page.  I'm hoping you'll go to the home page and look at the other albums too.