Coast KZN

23 May 2019

What to do if you find a seal on Durban beaches

Zainul Dawood (Daily News) Picture: An adult male sub-Antarctic fur seal, easily recognised by the crest of hair on his head. Females and juveniles do not have this crest. Picture: SAAMBR

Durban- The first two stranded sub-Antarctic fur seals of the “Stranding Season” were spotted on a beach on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline.

“Sub-Antarctic fur seals, South African fur seals and Southern elephant seals periodically wash up on KwaZulu-Natal beaches, sometimes thousands of kilometers from their home range” said the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR).¬†¬†This usually happens between May and September each year. These seals are often exhausted when they reach our shores and need time to rest peacefully before returning to the sea.

Seals on busy beaches are often harassed by public and their pets, so with the assistance of the KZN Marine Stranding Network, we relocate them to remote beaches where they can rest without disturbance. According to SAAMBR, if seals are ill or injured, they are transported as soon as possible to the dedicated uShaka Sea World for treatment and rehabilitation. Recovery can take anything from a week to many months before a seal is strong enough to be released.

What to do if you find a seal on the beach?

Contact uShaka Sea World (contact numbers below).

Send Ushaka a photo of the seal.

Guidance will be given to first responders on the beach via phone as each situation is different.

Cordon off a 5 m perimeter around seal.

Keep people and pets away (seals give a nasty bite).

Please do not:
Harass or chase the seal back into the water.

Touch the seal.

Attempt to feed the seal.

To report a stranded animal on the beach please contact: uShaka Sea World +27 31 328 8222 office hours or +27 31 328 8060 after hours, public holidays and weekends.