Giant elephant seal flopping around busy Chile town gets unique rescue, videos show
A giant elephant seal was caught on the sidewalk in a busy city center in Chile, far from home, as pedestrians and cars traveled on Monday, October 5th.
Several videos posted on social media show the seal resting on curbs and venturing out into the middle of the street in Puerto Cisnes, Chile.
A local news agency reported that the seal traveled to the bustling coastal community about 10 blocks from the ocean.
The Chilean Navy eventually directed the animal back to the ocean by creating a barrier with a large black tarpaulin. After a scary and confusing ordeal for the seal, it slips into the water in what appears to be a docking area for boats, a video posted on Facebook shows.
"Fifty people took part in the rescue of the animal, a job that lasted many hours but ended with a happy ending for the elephant seal, who was able to return safely to the sea," reported the local news agency La Vanguardia.
The southern elephant seal is the largest of all seal species and can live up to 23 years. According to Oceana, men can grow to be around 20 feet long and weigh more than 8,000 pounds. Women are much smaller; They can reach 2,200 pounds and be around 12 feet long.
Their name comes from the elephant-like tribe that males develop when they reach sexual maturity.
Southern elephant seals were previously hunted for their bacon, which was turned into oil, but a ban on commercial hunting in 1964 helped the species recover from low populations, Oceana said.
"However, the potential impact of the expansion of fisheries in the Southern Ocean and ongoing climate change on the populations of these seals are unknown, so it is important to continue studying and monitoring these and other seals in Antarctica," the organization said.
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