Elephant Seal Spotted Sunning Herself On Beach — With A Tiny Surprise
People haven't seen anything like this in 20 YEARS.
Just off the coast of Perth, Australia, this week, a huge elephant seal was spotted sunning herself on the shores of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, a protected area for wildlife - and she had a tiny companion with her.
People were flipping out about the baby because it's the first time in 20 years that a southern elephant seal has given birth in the area - and only the third time in recorded history, Emma de Burgh, spokesperson for the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPW) in Western Australia, told The Dodo.
Usually elephant seals - so-called not because they are the largest of all seals (they are), but because of their trunk-like, inflatable snouts - opt for giving birth in and around Antarctica. While no one knows why this particular mom opted for an Australian birth, she and her baby appear to be resting and doing well.
After her 11-month pregnancy, this mom, like all elephant seal moms, will nurse her baby pretty much non-stop for a month, during which time she won't even eat - she and her baby will live off the energy stored in her blubber.
While the DPW cautioned that it's very important that "people keep their distance from the mother and newborn, so as not to disturb them during this vulnerable time," the organization couldn't help but gawking a bit, too: "What a magical and rare sight!" DPW wrote.
Welcome to the world, little one.