After hunted almost to extinction in the 1800s, these gentle giants have made a great come back.
The busiest time in Año Nuevo is between December and March, when the Elephant Seals come to give birth and mate. After nursing their pups for only four weeks, the moms take off by themselves to swim to their feeding grounds as far away as Hawaii. After mating the males also leave in early spring to swim to their feeding grounds which can be as far away as the Aleutian Islands.
The weaned pups (also called weaners) gather together in groups and when hunger is too strong to be ignored, they will hit the water, too. 50% of the pups will not make it, with help of the many sharks that are around. As of now it’s not known where the weaners swim to.
By late summer the seals come back to molt and take off again to their feeding ground. They will return in December to start the cycle all over.