Regular beach walkers have reported increased sightings of skinny Cape fur seals or dead sea pups on Overstrand beaches in recent weeks.
Tarron Dry, the Biodiversity Conservation Manager of the Overstrand Municipality said these sightings are not uncommon for this time of year.
“Cape fur seals are born between mid- November and late December. Their moms nurse them till August – September the next year (around 7- 8 months), as she has to prepare herself to take care of the next pup she’s carrying and is due in November”.
“The result is that her previous year’s pup is left to itself to find its nutrition. If the pups learn to find food in the big ocean – they can fend for themselves. If they don’t, they end up on our beaches because their fat reserves are depleted and they are too cold to go to sea to hunt, meaning they die of starvation”, he explained.
If you see a baby seal alone and it appears unharmed, please leave it alone and do not touch it (they can give a nasty bite). Also do not try to return them to the water.
If you notice any obvious injuries and if the seal is retching or coughing, is entangled or seems very thin, please call the Environmental Management Section of Overstrand Municipality on 028 316 3724 (o/h) or the 24h Control Room 028 313 8000/8111 or 24h Emergency Control Room on 028 8980 (a/h). Alternatively phone African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) in Gansbaai on 072 598 7117.
It would be helpful to take a picture or a video to pass on to the Environmental team as this will enable them to make informed decisions regarding the urgency of their response.