Animals: Last Sea Elephants

Last fortnight there were in captivity just two sea elephants, both in Germany. One day in the Hanover Zoo, four-ton Goliath III sighed through his dewlap snout and died. Forty-eight hours later in the Berlin Zoo, Roland flipped up his toenails, sagged his small head into his mountainous jowls and died too.

Goliath and Roland were Southern Sea Elephants or Elephant Seals (Mirunga patagonica), an immensely overgrown genus of seal whose adult males grow a short, useless proboscis. They breed on lonely southern islands, the Falklands off South America, Kerguelen off the...

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