Macquarie Island: Sandy Bay – Elephant Seals

Nearly 10% of the global population of elephant seals lives on Macquarie Island! The male bulls weigh up to 3-4 tons, while females around 400-500kg. Males arrive on shore first and engage in bloody fights for dominance and territory. Once alpha-bulls (often called “beachmasters” are established, females arrive in harems of 10-200 per one male and choose the winners along the coastline. Breeding proceeds, after which the males consider their job done (as a side note – elephant seal have a retractable, nearly 1m long penis, that has a bone inside). Pups are born and rapidly gain weight to 200kg, fed by milk that is around 60% fat. Adolescent male bulls usually lounge around the shore, some molting and some imagining how one day they could become beachmasters.