The Southern elephant seal is the largest of the seal family. Being called an elephant because of their massive snouts. Their migration patterns differ significantly to any other mammal by undergoing a double migration annually with females spending around 85% of their time at sea and males less than 80%.
The seals breed on Gough, before moulting and spending the winter in haul outs on any of the islands in the Tristan archipelago, and give birth on Gough and occasionally Nightingale and Inaccessible.
During the mating period males will battle each other for mating dominance, seal bulls (males) form a shield of firm skin on their chests to protect them when fighting. Females give birth to a single pup in late winter, which she nurtures for a month. During this time the females don’t eat, she lives off the energy that is stored in ample reserves of her blubber.