Elephant seal chases Great White shark in Plett

Posted on 2 October 2020 By Anita Froneman

Great white sharks are known to be fierce predators and not many creatures will dare to challenge them. However, elephant seals are also a force to be reckoned with and a recent video of a showdown between these two species in Plettenberg Bay has viewers chuckling.

‘Have you ever seen a Great White Shark getting chased by an Elephant Seal? Another exciting day on Robberg,’ The ORCA Foundation posted on Facebook.

The Southern elephant seal is the largest seal species in the world, with males that can weigh up to 3.7 tons and measure 6m in length. Great whites do not feed on adult elephant seals, though they would prey on juveniles if given the opportunity.

Over the past years, a few of these seals have been recorded in Plettenberg Bay. The most recent individual, a male first sighted in 2011, has been returning to the Robberg Peninsula on a yearly basis, according to Ocean Adventures.

‘It would appear that he arrives shortly after molting and remains in Plett for several months. In 2012 and 2014 he was observed killing and feeding on Cape fur seal pups, an extraordinary behavior that had never been documented for Southern elephant seals before,’ the website reads.

Elephant seals breed on islands and mainland sites from the Antarctic continent to Patagonia, with their main concentration on the sub-Antarctic islands. The two closest colonies to South Africa’s coastline are on Prince Edwards Island and the Tristan da Cunha group. Elephant seals generally haul out twice a year to molt, mate and give birth.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Unrelated

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