Antarctic Seal Found at Umhlanga Beach.
It was early this morning, at about 06h15 that one of our Instagram followers @luckypacket found something very interesting on the rocks in front of the Umhlanga Lighthouse. Perched right on the rocks was an Antarctic Seal! According to @luckypacket the seal had a silent scream of “help me” or “get away”!!
We immediately posted it onto our Instagram and Twitter account and were flooded with queries and concerns for this amazing animal. We then tried to get hold of the authorities and managed to speak to Ann Kunz of Seaworld Durban.
According to Ann, who is the spokesperson for Seaworld, the seal is an Antarctic Seal and has swam more than 2 000 km’s from it’s natural habitat which is Marion Island and Prince Edward Island which is in between South Africa and the Antarctic Ocean.
Seaworld was notified of the seal last night at about 6pm and immediately summoned the help of KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife. “They have done a fantastic job of making sure that the seal is protected and safe”, said Kunz.
According to Wikipedia this fur seal is a fairly large animal and has a short and broad snout compared with others in the family. Adult males are dark brown in colour. Females and juveniles tend to be grey with a lighter undersides. Colour patterns are highly variable, and some scientists believe some hybridisation with subantarctic fur seals has occurred. Pups are dark brown, nearly black at birth. About one in 1000 Antarctic fur seals are pale ‘blonde’ variants.
Males are substantially bigger than females. Antarctic fur seals grow up to 2 m (6.5 ft) long and weigh 91 kg to 215 kg. Males live for about 15 years and females up to 25.
After a visual inspection we can confirm that the seal is a male, approximately 8 years old and a bit underweight. “He is extremely tired, and we plead to the public not to interfere with him. He just needs to rest.” KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife has put up a fence around the perimeter of the seal to ensure his safety.
These seals are not naturally found on the East Coast of Africa, but Durban gets around 5 – 6 seals coming up to shore every year. Ann also appealed to the public, to please call the KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife 24 hour hotline on 083 380 6298 if there are other sightings of animals on the coast.
The tide is expected to come in at about 16h00 and at that stage the seal may choose to return to the ocean and head up the coast or spend the more time relaxing on the Umhlanga coast!