It’s about that time of year again that Cape fur seal pups all along the Western Cape coastline haul out on beaches, tired, hungry and just wanting to be left in peace to rest…
From August until the end of summer each year, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA responds to hundreds of phone calls and emails from concerned Capetonians finding young seals (pups) stranded on the shoreline, and not knowing what to do.
At this time of year, seal pups at around a year of age are weaned from their moms and must head out on their own to hunt. A combination of wild seas, deep ocean swell and a lack of fish for food, find the most inexperienced pups washed ashore where they will need a few days rest before attempting to make the journey back to their home colony.
For some, the journey here will prove too much, and without any energy reserves or thick enough layer of blubber insulating them against the frigid Atlantic water temperatures, will die right where they land.
Fortunately, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA is well-prepared to rescue these young animals in distress and are able to provide safety, warmth and enough food (supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals) to see these yearlings back to health and strong enough to resume their lives in the marine ecosystem.
This particular boy seal, who we named Peace, was rescued from Glencairn Beach, weak and barely alive.
On arrival at our Short-Term Care Facility, our wildlife animal carers administered fluids and electrolytes and although he was too weak to feed, after two days he had bounced back and was eating half a kilogram of whole sardines a day!
By the end of the week, it was clear that he was ready to go home to the sea and was released at a quiet stretch of beach where people and dogs would not be an issue for him while he re-calibrated his compass, dived into the water and headed for home.
Do you love seals and want to help? Join the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Seal Squad! As a Seal Squad member, you will join other volunteers who care about our oceans and want to help seals in distress.
You will receive training with us and may be called upon to assess beached and stranded seals on beaches around the Cape metropole, keeping eyes on them until we arrive to help further.