On a National Geographic expedition to the Galápagos Islands, travelers witnessed something extraordinary: the birth of a sea lion. Even while in labor, the mother was unfazed by the presence of humans, delivering her pup on the beach with a nuzzle, a nudge, and a playful gnaw.
The moment was captured on the Galápagos’ Genovesa Island in 2014. Naturalist Jan Tiddo Post narrates the birth footage with information about delayed gestation in sea lions, a biological strategy that allows some mammals to “coordinate the birth of offspring with favorable environmental conditions to increase the chances of offspring survival.”
Related reading on National Geographic: A Warming Planet Jolts the Iconic Creatures of the Galápagos.
Watch these next: Swimming with the Galápagos Sea Lions of Isla Plaza Sur and the three different ways mammals give birth. Plus: More animal births.