Something strange is happening to elephant seals along California's coast. Each year, half of the seal pups disappear, and what happens to them is a mystery.

Have these creatures become powerful magnets for predators? Wild Chronicles and National Geographic's Crittercam® dive beneath the waves to solve this mysterious case.

  1. How many elephant seal pups survive their first year at sea?

    • Answer

      Only about half will survive.

  2. What animal is the main predator of elephant seals in California?

    • Answer

      Great white sharks prey on elephant seals off the California coast.

  3. How does Peter, the shark expert, track great white sharks?

    • Answer

      Peter hides a tiny radio transmitter in a piece of meat. The shark eats the meat, and the transmitter emits signals from the shark's belly, wherever it swims.

  4. What behaviors do elephant seals use to avoid sharks?

    • Answer

      In the "danger zone," elephant seals swim faster, swim near the ocean floor, and minimize their time on the surface.

  5. Why do great white sharks prey on elephant seal pups?

    • Answer

      Pups have not yet learned the survival tactics of adult elephant seals—to swim very fast, and very deep.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

Crittercam
Noun

camera designed to be worn on a wild animal, providing a "critter-eye view" of the animal's environment.

elephant seal
Noun

marine mammal native to parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

predator
Noun

animal that hunts other animals for food.

wave
Noun

moving swell on the surface of water.