Cape fur seals mortality event may be linked to malnutrition

Posted by Taylah Strauss on 3 November 2021

Cape fur seals are dying at an alarming rate along the West Coast. Anton Bredell, MEC of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said this matter has been investigated in the past several weeks at length.

READ: Cape fur seal mortality event on South Africa’s west coast

Amongst Laaiplek and Dwarskersbos, the provincial Disaster Management Centre recorded 144 seal fatalities, with another 50 at Elandsbaai since Tuesday morning.

In addition, the Avian Influenza crisis continues to ravage wild birds in the Western Cape. Roughly 150 dead birds were found yesterday in affected areas in the previous two days. The bulk of these fatalities are comprised of 122 Cape Cormorants which were found on Dyer Island. Currently, the death toll for the wild birds sits at 16 514.

Whilst the Avian Influenza crisis continues to plague the Western Cape, Bredell asserts that this is not linked to the seal mortality. ‘The dying seals are not linked to the Avian Influenza outbreak. Rather it appears that the seals are dying due to malnutrition,’ Bredell told IOL.

The situation is subject to further investigation, and Bredell urged the public to not feed the seals, regardless of malnutrition concerns, as the seals should not be domesticated and should remain wild creatures. Overfishing remains a concern as it influences the mortality rate directly.

Picture: Tess Gridley


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