These are crabeater seals, probably
the most numerous large mammals on earth after humans.
These are resting on a large ice floe
floating in broken summer ice near the Antarctic peninsula. Though they
are so numerous, it is unusual to see many crabeater seals together
as they live almost their entire lives on and amongst floating ice.
For this reason also, it is difficult to estimate their numbers, but
by 2000 there were thought to be about 50 million.
Crabeaters are large seals of about
220kg (484lb). They are frequently scarred, sometimes quite badly by
predatory leopard seals or killer whales.
Crabeaters are fairly solitary, and
the males and females are about the same size as the males do not need
to be large to compete for a harem of females as in elephant and fur
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied or
used in any manner without prior written permission.