Elephant Seal Vocalizing, San Simeon, California
A northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) vocalizing at the Piedras Blancas rookery, near San Simeon, California. Piedras Blancas is home to approximately 17,000 elephant seals. Elephant Seals spend about 8-10 months each year in the open ocean, migrating thousands of miles each year between their rookery on land, where they breed and molt, and the open ocean where they feed. Adult male elephant seals frequently vocalize to claim territory and to challenge other males, and in winter they engage in bloody battles for mating rights. Male elephant seals develop a thick chest shield, which helps protect their neck during these battles.