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North Pacific humpback whales, a mother and calf pair swim closely together just under the surface of the ocean.  The calf will remain with its mother for about a year, migrating from Hawaii to Alaska to feed on herring, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui A northern elephant seal hovers underwater over a rocky bottom  along the coastline of Guadalupe Island, Mirounga angustirostris, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe) Bull elephant seal exits the water to retake his position on the beach.  He shows considerable scarring on his chest and proboscis from many winters fighting other males for territory and rights to a harem of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Northern elephant seal, San Benito Islands, Mirounga angustirostris, San Benito Islands (Islas San Benito) Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight in the surf for access for mating females that are in estrous.  Such fighting among elephant seals can take place on the beach or in the water.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Northern elephant seal, San Benito Islands, Mirounga angustirostris, San Benito Islands (Islas San Benito) A bull elephant seal forceably mates (copulates) with a much smaller female, often biting her into submission and using his weight to keep her from fleeing.  Males may up to 5000 lbs, triple the size of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon This bull elephant seal, an old adult male, shows extreme scarring on his chest and proboscis from many winters fighting other males for territory and rights to a harem of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon A bull elephant seal forceably mates (copulates) with a much smaller female, often biting her into submission and using his weight to keep her from fleeing.  Males may up to 5000 lbs, triple the size of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory.  Winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight in the surf for access for mating females that are in estrous.  Such fighting among elephant seals can take place on the beach or in the water.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Northern elephant seal,  mother and neonate pup, gulls eating placenta, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe) Simnia and egg cluster on gorgonian, Delonovolva aequalis, Anacapa Island Longhorn cowfish, Lactoria cornuta A bull elephant seal (adult male) surveys the beach.  The huge proboscis is characteristic of the species. Scarring from combat with other males.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory.  Winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon North Pacific humpback whale, mother and calf near ocean surface, cow/calf, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Northern elephant seal, sunset.  Scars on neck and chest are from territorial battles with other adult males. Big Sur, Mirounga angustirostris, Gorda Gray whale, raising its fluke (tail) before diving to the ocean floor to forage for crustaceans, , Cow Bay, Flores Island, near Tofino, Clayoquot Sound, west coast of Vancouver Island, Eschrichtius robustus Gray whale dorsal ridge (back) at the surface in front of a boat full of whale watchers, Cow Bay, Flores Island, near Tofino, Clayoquot Sound, west coast of Vancouver Island, Eschrichtius robustus Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight in the surf for access for mating females that are in estrous.  Such fighting among elephant seals can take place on the beach or in the water.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Elephant seals in the surf, showing extreme dimorphism, males (5000 lb) are triple the size of females (1700 lb).  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Gray whale raising its fluke (tail) in front of a boat of whale watchers before diving to the ocean floor to forage for crustaceans, Cow Bay, Flores Island, near Tofino, Clayoquot Sound, west coast of Vancouver Island, Eschrichtius robustus Elephant seal mother and pup vocalize to one another constantly, likely to reassure the pup and confirm the maternal identity on a crowded beach.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Two adult female elephant seals rest on a sandy beach, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon A bull elephant seal forceably mates (copulates) with a much smaller female, often biting her into submission and using his weight to keep her from fleeing.  Males may up to 5000 lbs, triple the size of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory.  Winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory.  Winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon An adult male elephant seal rests on a wet beach.  He displays the enormous proboscis characteristic of male elephant seals as well as considerable scarring on his neck from fighting with other males for territory.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elk (bull) alongside female elk in grassy meadow, during rutting season.  A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators. Only mature bulls have large harems and breeding success peaks at about eight years of age. Bulls between two to four years and over 11 years of age rarely have harems, and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harems. Young and old bulls that do acquire a harem hold it later in the breeding season than do bulls in their prime. A bull with a harem rarely feeds and he may lose up to 20 percent of his body weight while he is guarding the harem, Cervus canadensis, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Bull elk, with large antlers, alongside female elk during rutting season, autumn.  A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators. Only mature bulls have large harems and breeding success peaks at about eight years of age. Bulls between two to four years and over 11 years of age rarely have harems, and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harems. Young and old bulls that do acquire a harem hold it later in the breeding season than do bulls in their prime. A bull with a harem rarely feeds and he may lose up to 20 percent of his body weight while he is guarding the harem, Cervus canadensis, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Bull elk, with large antlers, alongside female elk during rutting season, autumn.  A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators. Only mature bulls have large harems and breeding success peaks at about eight years of age. Bulls between two to four years and over 11 years of age rarely have harems, and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harems. Young and old bulls that do acquire a harem hold it later in the breeding season than do bulls in their prime. A bull with a harem rarely feeds and he may lose up to 20 percent of his body weight while he is guarding the harem, Cervus canadensis, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory.  Winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Bull elephant seal exits the water to retake his position on the beach.  He shows considerable scarring on his chest and proboscis from many winters fighting other males for territory and rights to a harem of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Elephant seal pup scratches its face with its foreflipper.  Note the five "fingernails" on the flipper.  The pup will nurse for 27 days, when the mother stops lactating and returns to the sea.  The pup will stay on the beach 12 more weeks until it becomes hungry and begins to forage for food, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Northern elephant seal, pup, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Mother elephant seal and her pup.  The pup will nurse for 27 days, when the mother stops lactating and returns to the sea.  The pup will stay on the beach 12 more weeks until it becomes hungry and begins to forage for food, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California This bull elephant seal surveys his territory.  He shows scarring on his chest and proboscis from fighting other males for territory and rights to a harem of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Female elephant seals fight for space on the beach for themselves and their pups, and fend off other females who may try to steal their pups.  The fights among females are less intense than those among bulls but are no less important in determining the social hierarchy of the rookery.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon A bull elephant seal forceably mates (copulates) with a much smaller female, often biting her into submission and using his weight to keep her from fleeing.  Males may up to 5000 lbs, triple the size of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon   more ...

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Updated: December 18, 2017