A group of stunned tourists witnessed the rare sight of an elephant seal giving birth on a California beach.

A group of stunned tourists witnessed the rare sight of an elephant seal giving birth on a California beach.

Jan Mertens, who was on holiday from London, captured the quick birth

Bystanders shouted words of encouragement to the mother

Pup fully emerges after just two minutes and mother appears to celebrate

Elephant seals only give birth between December and February

A group of stunned tourists witnessed the rare sight of an elephant seal giving birth on a California beach.

Members of the crowd can be heard shouting words of support as the mother seal started going into labor.

Watch the surprisingly quick moment of birth, captured by a man visiting the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery in San Simeon, California.

Shock: Holidaymaker Jan Mertens managed to capture the beautiful and surprisingly quick moment at San Simeon’s Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. Above, the mother seal starts having contractions

Here it comes! Within two minutes of labor starting, the pup is born and tentatively starts wiggling across the sand

It becomes apparent that the mother is experiencing contractions as she writhes in the sand, and bystanders can be heard shouting: ‘Go on girl, you can do it!’

As seagulls stand just inches away, the pup is born after two minutes of labor.

The baby can be seen tentatively wiggling around while the mother makes yelping noises and kicks up sand in what appears to be a moment of celebration.

Jan Mertens, who captured the footage while on holiday from London, said: ‘We were so lucky to have been able to witness this.

‘Our guide mentioned it was really rare to see a seal birth.

‘He had only seen it a couple of times himself, as it normally happens before dawn and can finish really quickly.’

Almost instantly after the birth, the new mother turns around and starts singing to her child to help identify it.

Amazing moment seal gives birth in the middle of beach

Newborn: Bystanders cheer and applaud as the seal pup is delivered on the sand in California

Magic moment: The mother appears to celebrate by making noise and kicking up sand once the pup is born. Here the seal pup gets used to its new surroundings

One of the guides can be heard telling the tourists: ‘You guys are really lucky.’

Jan added: ‘We were talking to one of the guides about the pups in front of us.

‘Another one came over to make us aware the seal behind was probably about to give birth.

‘At that point we started observing it and when it became clear that she was having contractions, I started filming.

‘We were told the elephant seals come and go all year round but only give birth between December and February.

‘When we visited earlier in the summer, there were only males who came to shed their winter fur.’

Startling: The tourists were amazed by the scenes they witnessed, as the animals only give birth between December and February. Above, seals bask on the sands where they gather year round

 

 

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