Guided Elephant Seal Walks at Año Nuevo State Park are set to begin December 15th and run daily through the end of March. The Park is home to one of the largest mainland Northern Elephant Seal colonies in the world.
The pregnant seals begin arriving on the beaches in early December and by late January their pups have arrived. The ensuing mating ritual is a bellicose and uproarious affair. Bulls the size of VW Bugs stage histrionic battles for breeding rights to the females. The entire spectacle unfolds as surreptitious park docents guide curious visitors on daily walks explaining the nature of the seals and the natural history of the California coast.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 northern elephant seals return to California’s Año Nuevo State Park every year from a total population of 215,000 spread across the Pacific. All the remaining seals are related to the one seal colony in Guadalupe Island, Mexico, that survived extinction from hunting at the end of the 19th century.