National Geographic : 1955 Jan
elephant may measure up to 20 feet in length and weigh as much as three tons. Its thick layer of blubber beneath the skin yields an oil as valuable as that of the baleen whales. This seal constitutes the only real hazard to human movement amid the tus sock grass of South Geor gia. On at least two occa sions I found myself with one foot on the grass and the other on the wobbling body of a sleeping sea ele phant. A sudden move ment of the seal's body and I might have fallen beside it, with the likelihood of getting a savage mauling from its powerful canine teeth before being able to wriggle clear. For the sea elephant the year can be divided into four distinct phases: the winter spent at sea, a spring breeding season, another short spell at sea, and a pe riod on shore in the fall for the annual molt. Toward the end of Au gust the cows start to haul out on the beaches in ones and twos, then in a steady influx. Within a week or so of their arrival the pups are born, and the bulls make their appearance. Last of all, the virgin cows come up to join the throng. Chaos ensues. Newborn pups squeal for their moth 109 Baby Aeronauts Look Like Cones of Cotton Candy One of the three lesser alba trosses, or mollyhawks, the black-browed albatross (Diome dea melanophrys) is the com monest in all the oceans from the Tropic of Capricorn to 60° south. These dour youngsters are about three months old.