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Media Statement: Cape Fur Seals Rescued

20 December 2005

On Friday, 16 December 2005, 24 Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) were released onto Black Rocks Island in Algoa Bay after a successful rehabilitation effort by staff of the Addo Elephant National Park and Bayworld.

Over 33 young Cape furs seals have washed up on the coastline of the Addo Elephant National Park this week due to strong winds and rough seas.

Strong winds blew from last Thursday the 8th of December and sea swells reached six metres over the weekend. This caused young seals to be blown out to sea from their island base at Black Rocks.

The weakened seals were collected by Addo Elephant National Park rangers and transported to Bayworld’s rehabilitation centre in Port Elizabeth for treatment.

A sub-antarctic seal was also found on the shore by Park rangers. This is a highly uncommon occurrence as these seals breed on the sub-Antarctic islands. The Cape fur seal is the only seal that breeds in southern Africa.

This wanderer will be released on the coastline of the Addo Elephant National Park, which stretches between Bushman’s River Mouth and Sundays River Mouth, with the hope that it will find its way home.

The Cape fur seal colony on Black Rocks, part of the Bird Island group managed by South African National Parks, numbers approximately 4,000.

Ends…

Issued by South African National Parks

Enquiries:
Megan Bradfield
Social Ecologist / Media Liaison
Tel: (042) 233 0556 / 083 650 8649

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