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South Beach, Piedras Blancas Rookery

North Beach, Piedras Blancas Rookery

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Want to learn more about what you’re seeing now?  It’s the summer molt on the Piedras Blancas beaches.  As the pregnant adult female seals and juvenile seals leave for their post-molt migration, the older male seals are arriving on the beach. They are each molting their old worn, coat and growing new skin, while they rest on the beach for about a month.  It’s a great time to visit and watch all the action- some of the male seals never miss a chance to spar – both on the beach and in the water!

You can visit the Friends of the Elephant Seal YouTube Channel to see videos about the Spring and Summer Molt in 14 languages!  Choose from English, Spanish, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and Russian!

We’re following the post-molt migration of 9 adult female elephant seals through their return next winter. Many thanks to the Beltran and Costa labs at UC Santa Cruz for sharing their migration tracking research, so that we can follow their 9 incredible journeys thousands of miles into the Pacific.  Watch our Facebook page to see their progress through images from my.wildlifecomputers.com and accessed from https://roxannebeltran.weebly.com/research.html.  

And what about those weanlings, the weaned pups born during Winter 2022?  The weanlings are now at sea, on their first migration.  We are following the 5 Vandenberg SFB colony weanlings as they launch on their first migration. The Cal Poly research team has instrumented them with GPS satellite tags and is tracking their first journey at sea.  You can follow the path of these 5 tiny explorers daily.  Read more here.

Planning a visit? Check What’s Happening Now to catch up arrivals and departures from the rookery beaches each month. 

If you are witnessing harassment of an elephant seal or any activity of immediate concern, please call State Park Dispatch: 805-927-2068.  As always, thanks for checking on the seals! 

About The Seals

About Elephant Seals

Seals on the sand

The northern elephant seal is the second largest seal in the world, after the southern elephant seal. Much more agile in their ocean environment, an elephant seal moves on land with considerable effort, by using its front flippers and belly. Adult males are 14 to 16 feet (4 to 5 m) in length and 4,000 to 5,000 pounds (1,400 to 2,300 kg) in weight. The females are much smaller at about 9 to 12 feet (2.5 to 4 m) in length and weigh 900 to 1,800 pounds (400 to 800 kg). Pups are 3 to 4 feet (1 m) long at birth and weigh about 70 pounds (32 kg).

What's Happening On The Beach?

Month by Month at the rookery

The number of seals at the rookery peaks three times during the year: in late January when most births have occurred, around the first of May at the peak of the juvenile/adult female molt, and in late October during the fall or juvenile haul-out. The annual cycle begins in November with the arrival of mature males at the end of the month.

Why Elephant Seals Are Awesome

Fun Facts

  • Elephant seals take their name from the large proboscis of the adult male (bull), which resembles an elephant’s trunk.
  • Male elephant seals weigh as much as a small truck or cargo van.
  • Elephant seals are shielded from extreme cold more by their blubber than by fur.

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Friends of the Elephant Seal is a 501(c) (3) non- profit corporation, relying on grants, sponsorships, memberships and your donations. Your charitable contribution supports our programs.

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Friends of the Elephant Seal is a cooperating association with California State Parks.

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