Scores of lifeless or dying Cape fur seals have been washing up alongside South Africa’s West Coast since October. Now researchers suspect that seals from that space are beginning to wash up alongside the Jap Cape coast whereas looking for meals.
Marine researchers within the Jap Cape suspect the seal die-off occurring alongside the West Coast of South Africa, which has concerned a whole bunch of malnourished Cape fur seals and carcasses washing up, is beginning to have a ripple impact.
This week Greg Hofmeyr, curator of marine mammals at Bayworld in Gqeberha, instructed DM168 that not too long ago extra weaned seal pups than regular had began washing ashore.
The seal pups, generally known as underyearlings, ranged from about 10 to 12 months outdated.
They have been skinny.
Hofmeyr stated it was common for a couple of Cape fur seals to finish up on the shore alongside the Southern and Jap Cape presently of the 12 months.
However greater than regular have been noticed over the previous few weeks and he stated it was suspected that these seals have been from the West Coast areas and looking for meals alongside the Jap Cape coast.
Every day Maverick reported in October that seal mortalities weren’t uncommon presently of the 12 months.
Nonetheless, there had been an surprising and sharp improve.
On the time, Division of Forestry, Fisheries and the Atmosphere spokesperson Zolile Nqayi stated: “In some situations, weaned pups will not be sturdy sufficient to feed by themselves and won’t survive. An analogous phenomenon was reported off the Namibian coast in 2020.
“Officers have additionally famous from stories that there are circumstances that contain older animals. These additionally appear malnourished, and convulsions have been famous from a minimum of two of the movies shared with the division.”
The rationale for the sharp improve in seal deaths was being investigated.
In a Fb put up on Bayworld’s web page this week, Hofmeyr stated the seal mortality occasion round Cape City was by now well-known and that the seals that ended up ashore appeared very skinny.
“However seals of the Southern and Jap Cape appear to have sufficient to eat.
“I visited Black Rocks in Algoa Bay two weeks in the past and the seals there appeared very fats and wholesome, with not a single skinny seal in sight,” he stated.
“My colleagues Dr Gwen Penry from the Plett Stranding Community and Val Marsh from S.M.A.R.T. in Mossel Bay additionally indicated that the seals at their colonies look very wholesome. So the seals of the Agulhas Present Ecosystem appear to be doing effectively.
“However regardless of this, because the starting of October, we’ve all seen many extra skinny seals ashore on the mainland than regular. And these are virtually all not too long ago weaned pups and most are very skinny. It’s fairly potential that these animals are ‘refugees’ from the Western Cape.”
Hofmeyr urged folks to please report any shore seal sightings to Bayworld’s hotline on 071 724 2122.
In the meantime, Sea Search, a gaggle of scientists and college students, this week reported that the 2021 seal mortality fee was uncommon for a number of causes.
This included pregnant seals aborting at the next fee from September onwards at colonies in South Africa and Namibia, “leading to each greater numbers of wash-out of lifeless black pups, and in some circumstances subsequent demise of the grownup feminine”.
“Adults displaying potential neurological signs” have been additionally picked up, “in addition to animals of all ages displaying convulsions when in last two hours or so of demise (a few of that is linked to demise by hunger).” DM168
This story first appeared in our weekly Every day Maverick 168 newspaper which is obtainable for R25 at Choose n Pay, Unique Books and airport bookstores. On your nearest stockist, please click on here.