Northern Elephant Seal
In the 1800s, northern elephant seals were hunted almost to extinction, with a few hundred surviving in Mexico. With protection, the population has increased into the tens of thousands. During mating, pupping, and molting seasons, elephant seals can often be spotted hauled out on the beaches along Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Mirounga angustirostris
DIET: Squid, fishes, rays, and sharks
WEIGHT: 4,400 lbs (males); 1,300 pounds (females)
LIFE SPAN: 13-19 years
THREATS: Entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes, marine debris
STATUS: Protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
FUN FACT: Male elephant seals have a large nose, or proboscis, which overhangs their lower lip by about eight inches.