Pups help seal Edward’s release
SEAL pup Edward Flipperhands, found washed up on Capricorn beach in June, is one step closer to being freed back into the wild after being rehabilitated at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Wildlife Unit.
“Our inspectors identified the stranded seal as a subAntarctic fur seal, which is fairly uncommon along our shores. They believe the animal had possibly become disorientated and, as a result, washed up on shore dehydrated and malnourished.
“The storms off our coast during that time may have caused it to separate from its mother or the mother may have died,” said SPCA spokesperson Tara McGovern.
“Thanks to support from people like you, our wildlife inspectors have been able to properly care for him.”
She said that during the first few weeks of his stay, he was monitored every few hours and fed a diet rich in supplements to ensure he would quickly gain between 4kg and 6kg.
“On arrival, he was being hand fed, which is quite a task with those sharp teeth, to bolster his recovery. After a few weeks, we were happy to find him eating unassisted, which was a great sign.
“Naturally, this amount of human interaction, coupled with the fact that Edward has never hunted for his own food, left us seriously concerned that he would be at significant risk if we were to release him back to the ocean.”
There were also concerns Edward wouldn’t be released close enough to where he came from, which would make it unlikely he would meet others of his kind.
“This was when we called in the team from Bayworld, Port Elizabeth, who happened to have two sub-Antarctic seals in their care, which would be invaluable to Edward’s rehabilitation process.
“These two seals are also being rehabilitated and will be returned to their natural habitat together with Edward when they are ready.
“This is so important because they will be able to teach Edward to hunt, feed and behave like a seal would in the wild. This is Edward’s only chance at freedom,” said McGovern.
Bid Air Cargo sponsored Edward’s trip to Bayworld in Port Elizabeth.
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