Paul Nicklen, Canada, a National Geographic photographer, was awarded first prize in the Nature division of the World Press Photo Contest, http://www.worldpressphoto.org/index.php?option=com_photogallery&task=view&id=1773&Itemid=257&bandwidth=high. These photos of Southern Elephant Seals were taken in Georgia, Antarctica.
Southern Elephant Seals are much more numerous than Northern Elephant Seals, and physically larger. Males can exceed four tons, females can weigh nearly a ton. Nicklen was chased by one while taking these photos.
The species are related, but are considered distinct species. No one knows whether they could interbreed, because their ranges do not overlap. Southern Elephant Seals live entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, Northern ones in the Northern. Southern Elephant Seals venture onto Antarctica's ice as well as on the Falkland Islands and along Argentina's coast. Separate populations of Southern Elephant Seals live in the remote southern Indian Ocean and the southern reaches of the Pacific beyond New Zealand and Tasmania.
So they are a rare sighting indeed! Thanks to Peter for bringing us these wonderful photos of animals we otherwise would never see.