Wildlife photographers Chris Bray and his wife, Jess, were leading a photo tour of Antarctica and South Georgia when the duo had a warm and fuzzy encounter with a curious (and huge) baby elephant seal. This 1-minute video shows “the hazards of being a wildlife photographer.”
Bray, who shoots for Australian Geographic magazine, started a photo tour company with Jess a decade ago to lead small groups of photography enthusiasts to some of the most exotic wildlife destinations around the world across several continents (e.g. Kenya, the Amazon, Patagonia, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and more).
“It was while we were ashore in South Georgia on this huge gravel beach filled with King Penguins and elephant seals that Jess laid down on the ground to get some cool low-angle shots of some passing King Penguins,” Bray says. “[S]uddenly one of these huge baby elephant seals flopped over to investigate Jess, and was soon joined by another.
“Before she knew it, she was being squashed by several of these 100kg+ [220+ pound] adorable animals, snuffling, burping and sniffing all over her. The same thing happened to me and a few of our photo tour guests. A totally unforgettable experience!”
“You’re not allowed to go too close to the wildlife of course, but it’s a different story when they come up to you!” Bray says. “Eventually Jess managed to extract herself from underneath these guys and escape.”
Weaned elephant seals weigh about 250 pounds, and fully-grown adults can weigh a staggering 4,000kg (8,800lb). Given that your average mid-size sedan weighs less than half as much, it’s probably not a good idea to let an adult elephant seal squash you.