From Argentine Patagonia to the coast of Chiapas: Elephant Seal arrived at Mexican beaches


It is a semi-adult female more than three meters long and weighing almost 400 kilograms, which had to swim more than seven thousand kilometers before arriving at Chiapas.

In order to spend the winter season in warmer waters, every year countless marine mammals from the United States and Canada arrive on Mexican beaches, especially the Baja California peninsula and the Yucatan.

However, some specimens from more remote places can also reach more unusual destinations in the country. And it is that on December 15, the inhabitants of the Chiapas coast were surprised when they spotted a Sea Elephant in the sands of Puerto Arista, in the municipality of Tonalá.

Locals have named it “Ponchito”

It is a semi-adult female of more than three meters in length and with almost 400 kilograms of weight, which is presumed to be originally from Argentine Patagonia, so she had to swim more than seven thousand kilometers before arriving at this site.

It all started when a community watchdog from the Tortuguero Playa de Puerto Arista Sanctuary reported to the Procuraduría de Protección al Ambiente (Profepa) the sighting of this species swimming in the area known as Manglares de Barra, although some inhabitants mistook it for a whale.

Elements of the National Guard and technical personnel of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) traveled to the place, who indicated that it is of the Mirounga Leonina species, which is within a list of risk categories at the international level.

However, the specialists indicated that her condition is healthy, without injuries or marks from interaction with fishermen. Also, Roberto Flores, a marine biologist from the Ministry of the Environment and Natural History, explained that it was not a stranding, since the specimen can fend for itself, but is in the process of shedding its hair, so it could stay several days on the Chiapas coast.

In this period, since obviously, it goes to the beach while this process lasts, the specimen is well, it is healthy, it does not require food to be given, because during this period it can be fasting and that it can last a few days as such. once a month

For its part, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) reported on December 18 that several of its elements are already protecting the specimen awaiting its return to the open sea.

“We only need to respect him and provide him with security guarantees so as not to get close. Does not require hydration, does not require shading. If the animal requires it, he will look for it, we would only have to be careful that she does not hurt herself; unfortunately on these beaches, there is a presence of dogs, for example, which can become a threat, “said Luis Arturo Álvarez Márquez, coordinator of the Puerto Arista Beach Sanctuary.

They ask the inhabitants not to disturb him

“The best way to help the Elephant Seal is to leave it alone,” Conanp assured this Tuesday through a video broadcast on social networks, in which they asked that the female be allowed to rest and surely after finishing the molt it will continue its journey.

If you see the specimen, just give it space and tranquility; stay away, be quiet, don't throw food, water, or other objects

Conanp added that environmental authorities are monitoring the Elephant Seal to keep it safe while thanking all agencies, civil society organizations, and experts who have participated in caring for the animal.


San Cristobal Post