Jan. 15, 2017: Elephant seal pup and mother at Piedras Blancas Seal Rookery north of Cambria, California.
After facing extinction by 18th and 19th century hunters, the elephant seals have made a recovery.
In 1892, only about 100 elephant seals remained alive on Guadalupe Island off of Baja California. They were completely gone from the California coast. In the 1920s, Mexico and the United States granted elephant seals protected status. Since then, their numbers have grown.
In 1955, elephant seals were spotted on Ano Nuevo Island near Santa Cruz, California. In 1990 they were first reported on the beaches south of the Pideras Blancas Light Station. In February, 1992, the first pup was born. By 1996 nearly 1,000 pups were born.
Thus, February, 2017, is the 25th Anniversary of first elephant seal pup born at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal rookery. Today nearly 25,000 elephant seals and pups line the beaches north and south of the Point Piedras Blancas.
Starting in 1997, boardwalks and parking areas have been constructed allowing visitors easy viewing of the elephant seals. The beaches, including the rookery, became part of the California State Parks in 2006.
On Jan. 12, 2017, President Obama placed the Piedras Blancas Light Station into the California Coastal National Monument.
I've posted twenty more images in this flickr album: 2017 Elephant Seals.
My thoughts on images past and present.