Cape Town - Two Oceans Aquarium has issued an alert to beachgoers regarding the unusual influx of seal pups on beaches.
In a Facebook post, the aquarium announced that they have been alerted by the public to various seals giving birth on beaches, far away from seal colonies on islands, leaving their pups behind to get food.
They are urging the public to stay clear from the seals so as not to stress them out more.
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"Seals follow shoals of fish to feed, and sometimes the shoals move closer to our shores and further away from the islands where seals usually give birth – as the shoal moves, so do the seals. Pregnant seals may then find themselves too far from the island to return there before giving birth, and end up having to give birth on our beaches," writes Two Oceans.
Unfortunately, this leaves pups vulnerable without the protection of the colonies from human interference and predators.
"It takes three to four days for a mother and pup to form a bond, and if that process is disturbed at all the pup will perish. Even if the bond does manage to form on an urban beach, the mother will be forced to hunt for food after a few days, leaving the pup exposed and alone on the beach."
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If you do spot a pup or mother, do not engage with the animal or get too close, and keep dogs and children away from them. Contact Cape of Good Hope SPCA's Wildlife Unit (+27 21 700 4140 Office Hours or +27 83 326 1604 After Hours) who will dispatch an inspector to determine the condition of the animals.
Also do not try to move the animal, or pour water on them. Their stress levels need to be kept at a minimum.
"The best case scenario is that the mother seal survives this ordeal and returns to her island."
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