Southern elephant seals range extensively during regular foraging excursions. Despite this they are highly
philopatric and long range dispersal is rare. At Gough Island, southern Atlantic Ocean, we observed a breeding
adult male elephant seal during September 2009 which had been tagged on its natal beach at Marion Island,
southern Indian Ocean, in November 1998. The individual was resighted only once on Marion Island – six
months after tagging. This 3,860 km movement represents dispersal (and likely gene flow) between distinct
populations from different elephant seal geographical provinces. Given the polygynous breeding system of this
species, the presence of this single male may have a disproportionate genetic effect on the small number of
southern elephant seals breeding at Gough Island.