Elephant seal makes ‘epic’ trek back after Canadian officials relocate him

Last Updated: June 21, 2024By

The Adventure of Emerson, the Elephant Seal


Last week, a bunch of wildlife officers with guns bundled a massive 500lb elephant seal into the back of a van, drove him along a twisty highway out in the wilds of western Canada, and dropped him off at a desolate beach, a place where humans wouldn’t bother him.

Their game plan? To relocate this young seal far from the bustling capital of British Columbia. You see, this dude, known as Emerson to the locals, had been causing a ruckus by showing up in all sorts of weird spots over the past year. We’re talking flower beds, city parks, even busy streets!

But Emerson wasn’t having any of it. Less than a week after his “eviction” from Victoria, he pulled off an “epic” 126-mile journey along the rough coast of Vancouver Island, heading straight back to the city. And let me tell you, the wildlife officers couldn’t believe their eyes.


Yet, despite Emerson’s unexpected return, the officers are worried sick. You see, this seal has become something of a celebrity, and folks are getting too cozy around him, taking risks that could end badly. There’s even a group of daredevils who encouraged a kid to go pet his nose!

Born in Washington state back in 2022, Emerson was raised by a bunch of kind souls after his mom split. Then, last year, he started popping up on beaches near Victoria, and ever since, he’s been living it up like a star. Whenever word gets out that he’s chilling in the sun or snoozing between parked cars, crowds flock to catch a glimpse, cameras ready.

“I’ve been coming down here every single day for a month to see him – big, old, chubby thing,” Peggy McCann gushed to the local media last year. “And everyone else around here started watching him too. I just think it’s fantastic. It’s such a delight to see him.”


Now, elephant seals spend most of their days swimming in the deep blue sea, but they come ashore to do their thing – like breeding and shedding their fur. Right now, Emerson’s in the middle of that shedding gig, a month-long process that really takes it out of him, according to the folks at Canada’s department of fisheries and oceans.

On April 1st, someone spotted him shedding his winter coat in a busy park, which led the wildlife officers to rope off the area with yellow tape and slap up a sign warning folks to keep their distance. But did anyone listen? Nope.

Five days later, they whisked him out of the city to let him shed his skin in peace, or so they thought.

But Emerson had other plans, and his return, along with his seeming disinterest in humans, has got the conservation folks in a tizzy. Even though he’s been pretty chill with the crowds so far, reports of folks harassing him have shot up to dangerous levels.

“People have been getting too close to Emerson, trying to pet him, snap selfies with him, and even coaxing their little ones to do the same,” the department lamented. “If this keeps up, someone’s gonna get hurt.”

So, it looks like the wildlife officers might have to pack up Emerson and move him again.

“But it’d be awesome if we didn’t have to,” they sighed, “and just let Emerson do his thing, finishing up his shedding in peace wherever he darn well pleases.”

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