I have been re-watching many of the wonderful old Jacques Cousteau specials and have been enjoying them greatly. But one thing I have noticed is that sometimes the show uses a bit of hyperbole in order to try to hook the viewer. In this case, the title "The Return of the Sea Elephants" SOUNDS a lot more amazing than simply calling them Elephant Seals...which is what they actually are. And, in fact, during the early portions of the show they keep calling them "Elephants of the Sea"...which is scientifically wrong but used to titillate, I guess.
As for the show, the crew of the Calypso travel to the Island of Guadalupe off the west coast of Mexico*. This is evidently a prime breeding ground for these enormous animals. There, you get to see the males fight, the seals mate on and off shore** and raise their young--which are 40 pounds at birth. You also get to see the Cousteau crew try some VERY dangerous (and probably fool-hearty) things with the seals!
All in all, a good film about the Elephant Seals...one of the more awful and disgusting creatures. You can see how they've been endangered...both because of human predation and because they are not exactly the best parents on the planet--in fact, they REALLy suck at taking care of their young! Some of the footage is VERY intense compared to other nature documentaries...such as the bull male who smashes the snot out of a pup and the many dead pups you see late in the show. Probably NOT a great film to show very young kids or the tender-hearted.
*There is the Island of Guadalupe off the Baja Mexican coast. There also is the French island of Guadaloupe in the Caribbean. It's very easy to mix up the two, though they are on opposite sides of the Americas.
**Interestingly, both male and female Elephant Seals are quite randy and mate readily with many different partners...many times a day...like some people.
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