There are two kinds of elephant seals; northern elephant seals are found in California and nearby offshore islands, and southern elephant seals live in sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters. Both species spend significant time in the water and on land.
Southern elephant seals are the largest of all seals and prefer to live in extreme cold conditions. They spend the entire winter in the frigid waters surrounding Antarctica hunting fish, squid and other marine food. During spring they come to shore to breed and give birth. Both elephant seal species have been hunted for their oil and were once at risk of extinction. Due to legal protections, they have since recovered.