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16th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
The Beauty of Innocence

This young elephant seal weaner is just over a month old. Her mother has abandoned her. She is hungry. This is a recurrent story for all elephant seals, who as a species have one of the shortest rearing periods of any marine mammal on Earth. This young seal has no idea her mother will not return, though she waits for her on the wild beaches of South Georgia expecting her to return until starvation will force her to muster the courage that will bring her to the sea.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 11.2017
Date Uploaded: 04.2018
Photo Location: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Copyright: © Natalie Gillis