Elephant Seal at Duiker Island

We have a rare visitor on the island at the moment, a juvenile Southern Elephant seal.

These seals are found in the South Atlantic, with the nearest colony being that on South Africa’s Marion Island some 2177km away from Cape Town.

There are a few reports every years of these lost and tired individuals and normally they return to the open ocean after some rest and relaxation. But we have never seen one on Duiker Island before

Here is a little more about this special animal….

While Elephant seals may come ashore in Antarctica occasionally to rest or mate, they gather to breed in subantarctic locations. The largest population is in the South Atlantic, with more than 400,000 individuals are on South Georgia. The other breeding colonies are located on the Falkland Islands, Kerguelen Islands and the rest in the Crozet Islands, Marion and Prince Edward Islands, and Heard Island.

The female Southern Elephant seal typically weighs up to 900 kg and measures 3 m long, the bulls typically weigh 2,200 to 4,000 kg and measure 5.8 m long. Thats massive, considering an adult bull Cape Fur seal weights a 330kg at most !!!!!!

At birth they weight about 40 kg, and reach 130 kg by the time they are weaned. Thats one big baby !

These seals dive for more than 20 minutes, to hunt their prey—squid and fish—at depths of up to 1,000 m !!! They are the deepest diving air-breathing non-cetaceans and have been recorded at a maximum of 2,133 m in depth.

What an amazing creature and we are lucky to have one visiting the island for a short period.