This is the incredible moment an elephant seal gives birth to a cute pup on an Argentine beach.
The stunning footage was filmed by dentist and photographer Federico Lombardi, 52, who posted it on his Instagram page on 29th September, where it has since been viewed nearly 10,000 times.
Federico told Newsflash: “I live some 1,300 kilometres (808 miles) from the (Valdes) Peninsula”, the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the event took place.
“I go there three or four times a year to take photos and film different animal species that, depending on the time of year, are found in different areas of the peninsula.”
Federico filmed the clip in a protected area of the peninsula in the province of Chubut on 20th September. He said: “It’s not somewhere the general public can access.”
Federico told Newsflash he was some 50 metres (164 feet) from a group of elephant seals when he and his government minder spotted a female about to give birth.
“I quickly assembled my equipment and decided to film and not take photos. I wasn’t really aware of what I filmed until I saw it a few hours later. I couldn’t believe it!”
According to Federico, female elephant seals give birth in September after a year-long pregnancy period.
The baby is born weighing approximately 40 kilogrammes (88 lbs) and becomes independent from its mother after 25 days. A few days after giving birth, females can fall pregnant again.
Federico told Newsflash: “The males arrive in late August weighing four tonnes, and after two months of intense activity (copulation, fights, etc.), they return to the sea having lost half their body weight.
“They can reach depths of 1,500 metres (0.9 miles), although the average is 700 metres (0.4 miles).
“In the Valdes Peninsula there are approximately 30,000 elephant seals during this period, which is mating season.”
Elephant seals (Mirounga) were hunted to the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century, but their numbers have since recovered.
Today, both the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) and the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as species of least concern.
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Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: William McGee, Agency: Newsflash
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