Wild

Baby elephant seal befriends humans in rare Antarctic encounter

April 8th, 2021

It’s not every day that you can get up close with an elephant seal, much less bond with them.

So for this group’s expedition with Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, it was a once in a blue moon experience.

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Their mission is to create life-changing safari experiences.

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They share their passion for the wildlife and the environment by leading unsurpassed tours with the goal of providing a higher standard of wildlife travel under the guidance and knowledge of the best leaders available. They want to inspire travelers with the values of conservation and education.

In one of their trips to Antarctica, an adorable baby elephant seal decided to drop by and have a little chit-chat with the team.

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They safely landed in Livingston Island to observe a waddle of Gentoo penguins.

But an unexpected visitor decided to join and have fun. A three-month-old elephant seal is impressing everyone with its flexibility as it bends backward 180 degrees. Who knew they could do such a trick as if their spinal cords don’t exist?

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This big baby continued to pose like a diva whilst putting its flippers in front begging for food.

He is so cute! I swear baby seals are just Labradors disguised in a water suit.

Elephant seals are marine mammals classified under the order Pinnipedia, which in Latin means feather or fin-footed.

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Elephant seals are under the genus Mirounga.

The two species, the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal, were both hunted to the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century. Even so, their numbers have since recovered.

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They are characterized by having no external ears and smaller limbs.

The reduction of their limb size helps them be more streamlined and move more easily in the water. However, it makes navigating on land more difficult because they cannot turn their hind flippers forward to walk.

Elephant seals are gregarious animals named after the male’s inflatable proboscis, resembling an elephant’s trunk.

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In the video, this sea doggo makes a discreet guttural sound as it crawls its way to the humans.

With those puppy eyes, it uses its snout to nudge their feet for attention giving them nose boops:

“Hello humans, I’m elephant seal. Want to play?”

And akin to a dog, it puts its head to its legs as if asking to be pet.

This gentle giant is oozing with cuteness—you just want to smother it with kisses!

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As irresistible as they look, it is one of the Cheesemans’ rules not to disturb or touch any of the wildlife.

Beyond that, all close interaction happens only by chance and should be initiated by the animal itself. That is why I salute them for their tremendous effort to keep their hands to themselves. It just takes so much self-discipline not to pet them!

I also advise against cuddling these charming creatures despite their amiable nature. If you don’t want to be squished to death or have broken bones in the process, resist the temptation.

As if the tidal waves were calling out to the elephant seal, it finally started its way back to the ocean.

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But before doing so, with teary eyes, it made one last glance to its newfound friends and flicked its flipper as if waving goodbye.

It angled its body towards the ocean yet its heart wants to stay, definitely torn. In the end, it chose to stay a bit longer with its friends.

If you also want your heart to be melted with cuteness overload, check out this video below:

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Source: Chimu Blog, Earth Guide

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