Emerson returns to the water, allowing Beach Drive to reopen

Emerson returns to the water, allowing Beach Drive to reopen
Emerson has crossed the road to get to a grassy section on Beach Drive on April 28, 2024.

Emerson’s adventures in Oak Bay traffic have come to an end for now, with the elephant seal returning safely to the water.

Earlier, Oak Bay Police closed Beach Drive between Windsor and Currie roads since Emerson had crossed the road to a grassy patch.

The section of the road was closed for just under three hours.

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Emerson has been capturing the hearts and attention of those on the South Island ever since his first appearance for moulting in June 2023.

He came ashore near the Oak Bay Marina for the annual moulting process.

READ MORE FROM 2023: ‘Let it just be’: Moulting elephant seal found along Oak Bay’s Beach Drive

Ever since then, it seems he has gotten a liking of the spotlight and South Island beaches.

On April Fools Day this year, Emerson came back ashore in the Gorge, and a crowd quickly formed to see what he was up to.

He was able to stay for a few days, then DFO had to relocate him because he kept wandering into traffic.


Shortly after, he popped back up again in Saanich, only to be once again relocated for his safety.

Hoping to put an end to his traffic adventures, DFO brought him up to Barkley Sound for his safety.

However, he could not be kept away.

A week later, Emerson had made the long journey back and once again found himself on a beach in the Gorge.


DFO hoped to leave him alone so he could complete his moulting, which is a stressful but natural process for the animals, however concerns quickly surfaced for his wellbeing.

Experts said they had received a number of reports that people and dogs were harrassing Emerson, including one parent who encouraged their child to touch their nose to Emerson’s nose.

“He is a wild animal weighing approximately five hundred (500) lbs, roughly the size of a bear, and while he may look slow and harmless, elephant seals are capable of moving very quickly and could be dangerous if they feel threatened,” said the DFO in an email statement on April 16.

READ MORE: Emerson’s back but may be relocated again if harassment continues: DFO

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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