The National Wildlife Federation

Donate Donate

Young Heavyweights

Each young elephant seal could grow up to weigh as much as 4 tons

  • NWF Staff
  • Aug 01, 2009


Already weighing a few hundred pounds each, a pair of five- to six-week-old southern elephant seal pups lounges on the icy beach of South Georgia Island, where some 400,000 of the animals spend several weeks each year breeding and rearing young amid king penguins. To photograph them, Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott traveled to the remote subantarctic island in October. “Photographing southern elephant seals during their breeding season can be stressful,” says Momatiuk. “The island is cold and blustery, with big waves constantly crashing nearby and huge bulls weighing as much as 4 tons galumphing across the beach.” By late November, these pups will head to sea to fend for themselves.



Photograph by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott

Get Involved

   Please leave this field empty

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates