Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals


San Simeon, Calif.--The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery is located 7.7 miles north of San Simeon along scenic Coast Highway One. The vista point has a number of excellent educational  and interpretive signs provided by Caltrans.  



Look for Friends of the Elephant Seal docents in their blue jackets to answer your questions.  The Friends of the Elephant Seal office and visitor center is located in Plaza del Cavalier in San Simeon.  Address: 250 San Simeon Ave. Suite 3B San Simeon, CA 93452


The number of elephant seal pups born at Piedras Blancas in 2001 was about 1950. The total population of a rookery is difficult to estimate because all members are never present at the same time. Researchers multiply the number of pups born times 3.5-4.5 to get an approximation.  The total population for Piedras Blancas at the turn of the 21st century was estimated to be around 8000. 

 

The elephant seal breeding season begins at Año Nuevo in December, when the first males arrive. From fourteen to sixteen feet long and weighing up to 2 1/2 tons, these huge bulls engage in violent battles to establish dominance. The successful bulls do much of the breeding, with most of the duty falling on the "alpha" bull at the top of the social ladder.

 

In late December, the females begin to arrive and form "harems" on the beaches of the Reserve. Much smaller than the males, they average ten to twelve feet in length and weigh 1,200 to 2,000 pounds. Three to six days after she arrives, the female gives birth to the pup that was conceived the previous year. Normally only one pup is born to each female, and she nurses for 25 to 28 days. Ordinarily, a mother nurses her own pup, although if they are separated another female may adopt the youngster. Feeding on its mother's rich milk (55% fat), the pup grows from approximately 75 pounds at birth to 250-350 pounds in less than a month. Some resourceful pups nurse from two or three females. They can weigh 600 pounds and are aptly called "super weaners". 

 

P.O. Box 490, Cambria,  CA 93428 Office - Cavalier Plaza, San  Simeon INFO: 805-924-1628 

 

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sea lion at piedras blancas
sea lions in sand near cambria

Seal Rookery > Crowd Looks > Elephant seals


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