Elephant seal claims B.C. beach for its annual moulting

This seal will be confined to land, sleeping, shedding its fur and losing 25 per cent of its body weight

Elephant seal moulting at Gonzales Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Beach-goers to Victoria’s Gonzales Beach were in for a treat this week as an elephant seal chose the popular spot to lounge and shed its fur during its yearly moulting season. It was an opportunity to get up close and personal to some local wildlife – but not too close.

The BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre had been down to check on the seal and even cordoned off the section of beach where the animal rests, in order to give it space for this month long process.

A sign attached to the caution tape perimeter explains that the lethargic, sick-looking animal is actually healthy and going through a natural process that sees it confined to land and sleeping most of the time, while it sheds it fur and an incredible 25 per cent of its body weight.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada asks the public to keep their distance. The elephant seal may look slow and harmless, but it is capable of moving very quickly and could be dangerous if it feels threatened.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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Elephant seal moulting at Gonzales Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Elephant seal moulting at Gonzales Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Elephant seal moulting at Gonzales Beach. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

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