Named for the migratory elephant seals sighted by early explorers, Elephant Island supports no significant wildlife or flora, save for the seals, penguins, and other birds that pass through on their migratory journeys. Whale levels are still low due to decades long illegal whaling by the Soviet Union and Japan. What the island lacks in flora and fauna it makes up with stunning views of the surrounding land. However, Elephant Island is most famous as the desolate refuge of British explorers Ernest Shackleton and his crew. In 1916 Shackleton and his crew spent over four months stranded on the island in the depths of winter before being rescued by the supply ship Yelcho in late August of 1916.