“This young elephant seal is what’s known as a “weaner” — recently weaned and about 2-3 months old. I refer to it as “he”, but we really couldn’t be sure what the gender was.
I was part of an expedition with Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, my second trip with them to Antarctica. The excellent Cheesemans’ staff made sure that all expedition members understood and followed the rules for visiting this wilderness: no food, no waste, maintenance of distance from the wildlife, and appropriate behavior around the animals. We were directed and reminded that we should walk slowly at all times, and not disturb or touch any of the wildlife.
On the islands and mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula, the required distance is 30 feet (10 meters) from a nesting colony of penguins or other birds, and 15 feet (5 meters) from “loafing” animals. But, if wildlife approaches you, closer proximity is allowed. There is no baiting, feeding, or approaching the animals to facilitate interaction with visitors. All close interaction happens by chance and is initiated by the animal itself.”