Seals killed by rough seas, strong winds

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WEEK­END AR­GUS REPORTER

HUNDREDS of dead seals washed up on the Strand­fontein and Kom­metjie beaches yes­ter­day as a re­sult of rough seas and strong winds on Thurs­day. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA said around 400 seals – mostly year­lings – had been found.

Wildlife Unit man­ager Brett Glasby, who was on Strand­fontein beach where around 100 seals were found, said most had prob­a­bly drowned or died of ex­haus­tion, while oth­ers may have died on the is­land and then washed into the sea.

Glasby said young seals of­ten died in the two breed­ing colonies off Hout Bay and False Bay’s Seal Is­land, but so many car­casses were un­usual.

Most of the car­casses had been in the sea for some time. They were be­ing re­moved by city’s cleans­ing depart­ment.

Glasby said it was now the start of the an­nual seal pup­ping sea­son and as a re­sult live and dead seal sight­ings are go­ing to be­come more com­mon. “Capeto­ni­ans can ex­pect to see many year­ling seals of six months to two years that have hauled out on the False Bay and At­lantic coasts dur­ing the sum­mer months, as well as seal pups up to three months old that have been swept off Seal Is­land over the breed­ing sea­son up to March.”

Year­ling seals, which are up to a me­tre in length, and are brown in colour, rest on beaches and rocks for a day or two af­ter a long feed­ing trip. Any­one com­ing across these seals should not dis­turb them, or pour water on them as they are try­ing to dry out and get warm. These seals also com­monly look un­der­weight but if any­one is con­cerned about a seal’s wel­fare, they should con­tact the SPCA, Glasby said.

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