The elephant seal population of South Georgia was surveyed comprehensively during the 1985 breeding season. 87711 females and 10260 adult males were counted. The counts were corrected using a model of the haul-out distribution to adjust for date of count. Annual pup production was estimated to be about 102000. Counts made at various beaches on South Georgia between 1951 and 1964 were examined to compare pup production then with present data. Although the population has fluctuated substantially, the 1985 population estimate was very similar to the estimate based on an incomplete survey in 1951. This contrasts with the Indian Ocean and Macquarie Island populations of this species which recent surveys show to be declining.