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Southern Elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) - and Interloper

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Antarctic seals are generally completely unafraid of man despite the inglorious days of sealing when hundreds of thousands of them were killed for their fur and/or blubber.

These days the recommendation is to stay considerably further away than this, the small weaned pup in the foreground has just his very close-fitting personal space invaded is isn't that happy - he's not actually that bothered either to be honest. The larger and older seals nearby seem completely unflustered.

The only time these seals get very upset is if you approach them walking upright and normally. When they threaten each other, they rear upwards to get as much height as they can and so seem to assume that an upright figure is a threat. If you get down low as this guy has done, they are pretty much unfrazzled, though by that time you may be uncomfortably close to a ton or more of smelly, sharp-toothed animated blubber.

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Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment, 100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied or used in any manner without prior written permission.

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