Six tons, trunk and roars: elephant seals on the Peninsula
Much larger and more imposing than sea lions and with harems that can have up to 130 females for each male. In the Peninsula Valdés, in spring, the Southern Elephant Seals flourish, arriving to reproduce and bear calves in the open sea, in the extraordinary settings of Caleta Valdés and Punta Norte, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.
They weigh six tons but can be propelled quickly, to return to the water or chase an intruder. They reach 900 kilos and make up the initial nucleus of the harems, which later a male monopolizes and defends against others. Competition involves constant alertness, day and night, high and low tides, and, eventually, fighting. So they have a trunk that they can inflate to fight or threaten.
At the beginning of September they reach the coasts and a month later the colonies reach the peak of the reproductive season, when you will be able to see fights, roaring mouths and swollen trunks. Towards the middle of October, the adult males – skinny, tired and injured – leave the beaches and leave room for the show of the young with their mothers, who protect and feed them until they shed their skin in November.
Where you can see them:
Protected Natural Area Península Valdés
– Caleta Valdés
76 kilometers from Puerto Pirámides.
Accessible trails and viewpoints.
– Punta Norte
79 kilometers from Puerto Pirámides.
Accessible trails and viewpoints.
Recommendations for having a good experience:
How to get to Puerto Pirámides
Company Mar y Valle (consult schedules, they vary according to the season), tel. +54-280-445-0600. Puerto Madryn Bus Terminal, Dr. Avila s / n, Office 5.
Consult travel and tourism agencies authorized for the excursion with on board sighting. Secretaría de Turismo de Puerto Madryn, Av. Julio A. Roca 223, tel. 0280-445-3504/6067. https://turismo.madryn.gob.ar/
Or with a private vehicle.
- If you can choose, visit the sea lions and elephant at low tide
- You can see more specimens of marine fauna in reproductive periods
- You can go by vehicle on your own, through an organized excursion, or by bus lines from Puerto Madryn Puerto Pirámides.
- Bring comfortable clothes and shoes, hat and sunscreen
- Do not forget a coat (extra if you do whale watching)
- Always carry your camera or cell phone with a good battery charge
- Hire excursions with Travel Agencies authorized for this purpose
- Avoid hiring excursions on public roads (except at specially enabled counters when there are cruises in Puerto Madryn)
- Get informed at the Information Offices of each Chubut destination
If you go with your own car:
- Charge fuel before starting any tour and before going to Peninsula Valdés
- Within the Peninsula Valdés, there is only a service station in Puerto Pirámides
- Drive with caution: native animals live in the wild and can cross the road
- On the gravel road, do not exceed 60 km / h and avoid sudden braking
- The pets are forbidden
Suggestions recommended to visit a Protected Natural Area:
- The gathering of plants, fossils or archaeological remains are forbidden.
- Circulate by roads and walking trials enabled
- Circulation on beaches and cross country is prohibited
- Take your waste back
- Respect and take care of the information signs.
- If you have any questions or doubts, consult the wild life guards.
- Do not chase, feed or disturb the fauna.
- Watching fauna, please, keep your voice calm.
For more information:
Peninsula Valdés Administration
Web Site: https://peninsulavaldes.org.ar/
Municipalidad de Puerto Pirámides:
Puerto Madryn Tourism Office:
Address: Av. Roca 223
Telephone Information Center: (54 280) 4453504 / 4456067
Web Site: www.madryn.travel
E- mail: [email protected]