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Polar Regions

Fur Seal Pups Sing for Their Supper

Antarctic fur seal pup

Feigning ferocity, an Antarctic fur seal pup growls at visitors on the island of South Georgia. Still from video by Andrew Evans and Brian Gratwicke

National Geographic Traveler‘s Andrew Evans has just completed a Cape to Cape crossing of the Southern Ocean aboard the Society and Lindblad Expeditions’ flagship, the National Geographic Explorer. Andrew chronicled the adventure on his Digital Nomad blog.

While in South Georgia—breeding ground for some 95 percent of the world’s Antarctic fur seal population—Andrew encountered thousands of fur seal pups tumbling in the surf and clambering on the rocky shore. To keep the pups from starving, their mothers must abandon them for awhile to feed on krill, small fish, and squid.

“Despite the howling wind,” writes Andrew, “I can hear a thousand lonely hungry babies all whimpering from their grassy cribs. It is a woeful and heartbreaking chorus—the wail of a child who has lost his mother. But from the beach the calls continue—the female fur seals search for their pups by calling out, ‘Where are you?’ over and over again. The babies reply with their whimpers and the air is filled with seal cries.”

Read Andrew’s full dispatch from South Georgia on the Digital Nomad blog.

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