A 200-pound elephant seal walked up and cuddled up to a nature photographer, which was captured on camera.
The Tauntons stumbled upon a swarm of king penguins while on a picture adventure at Gold Harbour, an island off the coast of South America.
A troop of elephant seal pups approached Jess as she leaned down to collect the wingless birds.
Jess was overjoyed by the puppies’ interest, but one of them broke away from the pack and began paying particular attention to her.
In South Georgia, photographer Jess Taunton was capturing penguins when she was approached by an elephant seal.
The second and third seals arrived within minutes to inspect the Australian wildlife photographer.
Several individuals online criticized her for going too near to the seals, but she said that the babies approached her and that official instruction states that people should not try to push them away.
The strange monster is seen moving its 200-pound bulk over top of Jessica, as if giving her a massive embrace in the footage.
The youngster nuzzles up to her head as Jess smiles into Chris’s camera, and two more puppies walk over to cuddle up to the Australian wildlife photographer.
“My wife Jess was lying face down trying to snap a picture of some king penguins in South Georgia when a roaming group of elephant seal babies decided to flop on over and give her a hug,’ Chris, who is also a wildlife photographer, said.
They’re just about as heavy as they are gorgeous. ‘ Elephant seals in the region may weigh up to 8,800 pounds and grow to be 19 feet long.
The video was shot in December 2018, but it has only recently become viral, with over 32,000 views on TikTok alone.
Jessica was admonished by several for going too near to the seals. As everyone who’s been lucky enough to go to South Georgia knows, immature elephant seal pups like these are almost as curious and brash as they are hefty, “she commented on Instagram.
“As everyone who has visited South Georgia knows, elephant seal pups like these are very curious and bold creatures, she added. While there are IAATO rules (I’m a qualified IAATO field guide) urging that Antarctic tourists stay at least 5 meters away from the seals, no one advises them.”
It’s not unusual for one of these giants to flop straight up and check you out if you’re stooping down photographing approaching king penguins, like I did
It’ll go on, leaving you possibly with a numb feeling in your squeezed leg that will go, and a feeling of awed shock that will live with you forever,’ she added, noting that the official rules warned not to try to push the seals away.
‘One of my most unforgettable wildlife experiences,’ she said.