Curious Northern Elephant Seal Was Caught Spying on Researcher

Humans have always been interested in animal behavior and lifestyle. Researchers often observe and analyze species in their own habitat — to have a deeper understanding of the environment. Sometimes they conduct observations in close contact with the animals but at a proper distance. Those research tasks become even more interesting if the animal notices their presence and observes them back.

Photo: Youtube/Sky News Australia

This does not just happen to researchers; professional wildlife photographers have the same experience. The animals approach the person and watch how they work on the camera — making the experience more memorable.

As for researchers, in this case, a northern elephant seal was caught spying on Natalia Cara de Medeiros. She is a wildlife researcher visiting the Farallon Islands. Natalia was visiting the nature reserve in San Francisco as part of her work in December 2021.

Photo: Youtube/Sky News Australia

While working on the research with Point Blue Conservation Science, Natalia noticed an inquisitive northern elephant seal staring at her. It was looking at the camera, and the moment was recorded — the seal couldn’t take its eyes off the camera. As the camera zoomed in on the seal, it was seen that the seal would sometimes hide behind the rocks and then stare at the camera again. The seal’s curiosity might be due to the fact that it was young and everything was a brand-new piece of information. All in all, it was an amazing encounter as humans and animals observed one another.

Natalia did her work on the island during the elephant seal breeding season. Elephant seals are well taken care of at the Farallon Islands, as scientists once thought the species was already extinct back in 1884. According to the Point Blue Conservation Science website, a small group of northern elephant seals was found again on Guadeloupe Island off Baja, California, Mexico. Since then, their population has grown, and it was a remarkable achievement for the reserve.

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