Conservation Comeback: The Northern Elephant Seal

Along the Pacific coastlines of North America, the northern elephant seal is now a common sight — but at one point it was so rare that the species was officially (and wrongfully) declared extinct. Today the large seal’s current population stands at 160,000 and growing, but in the 19th century it was critically overhunted for its oil-rich blubber. If it weren’t for the decreasing demand for blubber-based fuel and subsequent policies enacted to protect the species, the northern elephant seal might not swim in our waters today.

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