If you were an adult female elephant seal, I imagine that your annual ‘To Do:’ list would look something like this:
January – March:
1. Haul out onto Marion Island (home, sweet home)
2. Moult off that grotty old summer coat in preparation for the long winter migration
3. Starvation diet while on land, alas!
March – September:
1. Head back into the Southern Ocean and explore the encroaching marginal ice zone for fish and squid
2. Eat eat eat eat (you’re foraging for two, after all!)
September – October:
1. Haul out onto Marion Island
2. Give birth (no drugs, darling) and wean your cute little pup
3. Get knocked up again
4. Starvation diet blues! *sigh*
5. Get tagged by the cute biology boys from South Africa.
November – January:
1. Get that ‘skinny’ body back into the water
2. Forage in what looks like a marine desert (what do satellites know about biological richness, anyway?)
3. Feed girl, FEED!
4. Head back to Marion Island and start all over again