Every year from December through early March, thousands of elephant seals return to the Piedras Blancas rookery on the beach near San Simeon, California, to give birth, nurse their young and mate. It is not a romantic holiday. Time is short, because nobody eats during this season, so males fight for females, females fight for territory, and the important job of conceiving next year's baby seals can not wait until the this year's babies are weaned. So there is fighting, nursing, mating, and, for some young ones abandoned by their mothers, there is an early death by starvation. This gallery contains images, many of them graphic, of life in the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas. For more information, visit the Friends of the Elephant Seal Web site.
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