Male elephant seals can weigh up to 4,400 pounds. Photo Credit: Max Fowles / Friends of the Elephant Seal

Animals USA24. January 2024

Elephant Seals Saved from Extinction, with the Help of These Human “Friends”

In Central California, a nonprofit in the United States contributed to saving elephant seals from near extinction, partly with the help of volunteers who are adamant about putting wild animals first.

“The [volunteers] are all drawn to this idea of helping the public to appreciate and really treasure this natural resource,” says Kathleen Curtis, president of the Friends of the Elephant Seal board. “We try to help people understand the seals’ life from the seals’ perspective. We try to give them a very real sense of what the seal has been through.”

Every year since 1997, Friends of the Elephant Seal has sent volunteers to educate the public and protect the elephant seals so that the marine mammals and humans can learn to coexist peacefully. The nonprofit collaborates with local, state, and federal agencies, wildlife conservation centres, scientists, law enforcement agencies, and other groups. Today, there are between 150,000 and 200,000 northern elephant seals in the wild along the waters of the North Pacific – from Alaska to Baja California – with 25,000 individuals at Point Piedras Blancas alone, where the nonprofit’s volunteers focus their education efforts.

Smithsonian Magazine

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