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Authorities say sunbathing elephant seal first for Nayarit

Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit — Police in the municipality of Bahía de Banderas were assigned to a different type of duty Sunday, when curious crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of an elephant seal.

Police were sent to the beach to keep people back who were arriving to watch as the large mammal sunbathed in the community of San Pancho. Environmental personnel from Grupo de Investigación de Mamíferos Marinos A.C., also arrived who recommended that people simply leave the seal alone.

The Marine Mammal Research Group reported that this was the first time that this species of elephant seal had been registered along that beach. They said that “the seal was observed in good condition” adding that “it is normal behavior for these animals to rest on the beach.”

Staff from the Bahía de Banderas PROFEPA and Civil Protection monitored the seal according to protocol, warning people not to approach or stress the animal. People gathered along the beach even though beach areas remain closed due to the Covid epidemic.

Environmental personnel determined that the mammal was a female northern elephant seal, but were unsure what brought her to the beach. The arrival of the seal caught the attention of state Governor Antonio Echevarría García, who took the opportunity to share an image.

“I share this beautiful postcard taken by Dafne García from San Pancho. Let’s take care of our flora and fauna,” he wrote on social media.