Seals: Charming creatures living in the sea of Cortez

Verónica Santamaría

Guerero Negro in Baja

Beneath the impressive blue waters of the Sea of Cortez and the huge Pacific Ocean, there is an enormous variety of marine fauna. Groups of seals and sea lions swim and play in a wonderful rocky environment near Los Cabos. It is the perfect setting to get to know these beautiful marine animals and find out a little more about them.

SealsSeals belong to the family of pinnipeds, better known as sea mammals, which live in a variety of marine habitats. One of their main characteristics is that they lack any external ear and their limbs consist of fore and hind flippers. In Mexico there are four species of Pinnipeds: the Guadalupe fur seal, which is now an endangered species; the Elephant seal, the Common seal and the Californiasea lion.

The population of the common seal (Phoca Vitulina) is estimated at approximately 2 thousand. It has been proposed to pay special attention to this particular species, the damage being done to its habitat, and keep it under surveillance to avoid the illegal use of this animal's fur or poaching them to use their flesh as fishing bait.

SealsThe upper body of the common seal is grey or chestnut-brown in color and their stomachs are white with dark spots. Seals have the ability to move around on land, albeit in a rather humorous fashion, however in the water is where they are really at home, easily diving up to 650 feet deep!

Their thick hard fur and large whiskery beards help protect them from the harshness of the weather. Their sizes vary depending on the species, between an average of 3 1/2 feet and 20 feet in length and they can weigh up to 220 pounds. The life expectancy of the females is between 35 and 40 years and males only live 10 years or less. The amazing ocean, rich in marine species, is home to a huge variety of mollusks, crustaceans and fish which are the main foods of the seals.

SealsSeals live and migrate in groups. They are a popular attraction for travelers eager to get to know these lovely animals in their natural environment. Seals are attracted by warm coastal bays, river mouths and streams with gentle currents. Large colonies of seals and sea lions live in the Sea of Cortez surrounding the Baja California Peninsula, as well as the rocky area of Cabo San Lucas, where the Land's End Arch is located. Tourists have the opportunity to interact with these likeable sea mammals, which are so used to the presence of the people that they practically pose for photographs, using the grandeur of the wonderful landscape as a backdrop!