female Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina)
Caroline Bay, Timaru, 26 September 2015 A female Elephant Seal came ashore at Caroline Bay a week or so ago, and gave birth on Thursday (today is Saturday, so the pup is only three days old). Elephant Seal births on the mainland are very very rare, so this was a must-see event for me. The only other Elephant Seal I have seen was a young male at Kaikoura in June this year. Unfortunately I cannot rate the chances of survival to weaning very high for the pup. The beach is literally right next to town and the pup has become a local celebrity of sorts. I was there for about four hours today and there were literally hundreds of people coming and going, a fair number of whom brought their dogs with them. There were also several dogs running unleashed on the beach. I hope to be proven wrong, and see the pup survive to leave the beach.