Herd of seals sunbathe on Cape Cod beach
A pilot flying over Monomoy Island recently captured a stunning image: miles and miles of grey and harbor seals basking in the spring sun.
‘Miles and miles of continuous blubber,’ said the pilot, Aaron Knight. ‘It’s getting out of control.’
Knight jokingly estimated there are about ’18 trillion’ seals at the beach.
While the video of the Cape Cod seals has shocked many – gaining over 345,000 views – the moment was not really a surprise to Knight.
The pilot said he has been watching the seals at Monomoy for years, but only now decided to get some video of them, though this is the most he’s in one place at one time.
‘They used to be in harems and small chunks dotted down the beach, but this year … it’s just astonishing,’ Knight told Boston.com.
‘It’s an infinite forever stretch of seals.’
It’s not unusual to see seals there this time of year. What’s unusual is seeing that many from that perspective.
Marine biologist Owen Nichols has studied them for fifteen years. He explained why the seal population has increased over the past few decades.
“Well, they were essentially exterminated, extirpated, from our waters right up until the 1960’s. So you are seeing a recolonization, essentially a resurgence of seals.”
They’re not hunted because they are federally protected. Before 1972, when the Marine Mammal Protection Act went into effect, sightings of even a single seal were rare.
The video of the Cape Cod seals has only been up on Facebook for a little over a day, but it has been viewed more than 240,000 times.