Seals killed by rough seas, strong winds
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.