This past weekend – Sunday May 3rd, an adult male sub Antarctic Seal was spotted on the rocks in front of the Umhlanga Lighthouse – 2000 kilometres from his home range.
Although underweight he appeared not to be injured and was seen resting on the rocks. Ezemvelo Wildlife anticipate his rest will be broken when the tide comes in and he will either return to the sea or move onto the beach. For the time being, the area has been cordoned off, to give the little guy a bit of peace while he rests and recovers from his trip.
In KZN, stranded animals include whales, dolphins, seals, whale sharks, penguins and various other sea birds such as gannets and cormorants. There is no single known reason why animals strand.
For most marine animals other than seals that strand in KZN it is a definite sign they are not in good health and therefore it is not in their best interest to return to the water before they have been assessed and if necessary treated. However seals are often in good health when they come ashore in KZN merely to rest after a tiring swim from the southern Cape or even as far as Marion and Prince Edward Islands. They usually return to the ocean once they have rested. It is therefore really important not to disturb the seal and to leave it to recover before it begins it’s epic journey home.
It is up to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Network members to determine the best action for these animals i.e. if the animal is injured or sick, it might be best to transport it to uShaka Sea World Rehabilitation Facility or in the case of birds to CROW.
In KZN, there are three major natural events that bring an increased number of marine animals to our coastline, the sardine run (April to July), the whale migration (May to October) and the turtle nesting season (October to March). Every year, in addition to the animals directly involved in these natural phenomena, there is an increase in predators, such as sharks, birds and seals, associated with these events.
If you find a stranded animal on the beach, please contact : Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (24 hr hotline) – 083 380 6298
It is important to give a full description of the animal, the exact location of the stranding with possible directions to the animal as well as the contact details of the person who observed the stranding.