This camera is located on the Pacific Coast of California between San Simeon and the Piedras Blancas Light Station. The development and implementation of this WebCam has been a joint activity of Friends of the Elephant Seal and California State Parks. This development and its continuing operation are made possible through the generosity of our many friends and members.
During April and May the rookery is crowded with females and juveniles. The females are returning from a two month foraging trip after giving birth, nursing their pup and becoming pregnant again in January and February. The juveniles are returning after five months at sea after their fall haulout in October and November.
Coming on shore to grow new skin and hair is necessary because circulating blood outside the insulating blubber layer is required to nourish the new cells and the near freezing ocean environment would result in a fatal loss of energy. As the new skin develops, the old skin and hair falls off leaving a sleek gray coat with the new hair just beginning to grow.
Around the first of May, in the middle of the female/juvenile molt, is the time of peak population in the rookery.