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Elephant Seals and King Penguins -  South Georgia

For most of the year the King Penguins have the beaches to themselves. The summer moths however mean that they have to share their space with elephant seals that come ashore to give birth, to mate and for the males to fight each other for mating rights.

These two young adults are just practicing, neither of them are large enough to become a Beach Master yet, the largest adult males with exclusive mating rights to as many females as he can defend. Such males may weigh up to 4 tons and usually have just a single season in the role, such is the arduousness of having to fight to defend their position every hour or so for weeks on end.


These are pictures from a trip to Antarctica in the summer of 2010 - 2011 for the purpose of researching former whaling stations and companies by Ulf Gustafsson of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Pictures copyright Ulf Gustafsson.


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