True confession: I spend a bunch of time on the internet, but, for whatever reason, I’m just not one of those folks who’s up on YouTube goodies. Except for today. That’s because a friend sent a charming video of what appears to be a seal wooing a pretty lady on the beaches of Gold Harbor, South Georgia.
Gold Harbor, South Georgia, is located off the southern tip of South America, in the sub-Arctic. It is a small bay five miles S-SW of Cape Charlotte, with Bertrab Glacier at its head, along the east end of Georgia . The west end of the beach where a glacial stream flows is a breeding ground for various types of penguins and large seals. It is not a frequent destination for tourists.
There are a few things to consider as you watch the video. First, the female romantic lead (a/k/a “brave tourist”) is completely unfazed by the seal – he’s trying to kiss her, and she doesn’t flinch. That’s surprising, because this seal – an Elephant seal – likely weighs over a ton. Males can weigh up to 6,000 lbs.
Second, what is it about this woman that the seal is so enamored of? It might be her soul, but something tells me it’s that cute red jacket.
Videos like these – ones that raise more questions about human-animal interaction than they answer – stir up my old childhood desire to become an animal behaviorist, a la Jane Goodall. I used to envision setting up shop with some species or other, and reporting back to the rest of the world my discovery that (substitute species name here) really do tell great jokes.
Beth Lebwohl researches, writes and helps produce science content in audio and video formats for EarthSky. She is one of the authors on EarthSky.org, a script-writer for our podcasts, and helps host our English science podcasts in 90-second, 8-minute and 22-minute formats. Beth came to EarthSky in 2006 from the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Astrophysics, where she was surrounded by some of the greatest telescope-building, equation-wielding, code-writing physicists of our time. And they made her think . . . this science thing . . . it's pretty cool.