Photography by Louis Perrochon
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Año Nuevo State Park, CA, USA
Año Nuevo is a breading ground for elephant seals. These animals are incredibly big, and their breeding habits are just amazing. In early December, the male stake out their territories, and shortly after the females arrive, pick a male and give birth to one pup. They don't leave the beach and starve for the next weeks.

The typical group with one male, surrounded by females with their pups. Further away are the unlucky males waiting for their chance to mate.

This pup was not happy at all about our visit.
This pup is making friends with a bird (you cannot see the bird on the thumbnail, you have to click on it). The bird seemed to be interested in getting stuff out of the pup's mouth, but there was only milk and some foam. In the background a male, for size comparison.
It's lunch time. The milk contains 50% fat. The pup is fed for 4 weeks, then has to live on it for another 10 weeks. The mother leaves the beach after the first 4 weeks, probably almost starved to death. A male making some announcement. The male spend a few months ashore without eating anything.
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1998-2003 Louis Perrochon. All Rights reserved. (See details)