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Birth of a Galápagos sea lion

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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.”

Learn more about pinnipeds and specifically sea lions.

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.

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