Buffel the elephant seal is moulting on Fish Hoek beach. Picture: Steve Benjamin/Animal Ocean
Cape Town - Animal Ocean wildlife experiences has advised visitors to Fish Hoek about a special resident who has settled on the beach.

A southern elephant seal has made the beach his home while moulting.

“It is such an honour to have such a special visitor to False Bay,” Animal Ocean founder Steve Benjamin said in a blog post on the company’s website.

“The southern elephant seal that is resting on Fish Hoek beach is well known and fast becoming a true Capetonian. The seal, known as ‘Buffel’ to the researchers who tagged him, has caused a bit of intrigue to the local beachgoers.

“I went down to see for myself and found Buffel happily resting in the dunes. I chatted to people in the area and it become clear that some info needed to be shared on the local community groups about this animal.”

Benjamin posted some useful information about elephant seals, and particularly how to avoid any unnecessary mishaps around Buffel.

“This is a southern elephant seal, probably from Marion Island some 2100km away. It is healthy. It is just resting as it moults (sheds its old fur). Please leave it alone and DO NOT chase it back into the ocean.

“During the moulting period they do not eat. The process can take up to a month. It has no fear of humans or dogs. Its species does not ever encounter either and they have never developed a fear. It more likely sees us as big penguins.

“Please enjoy seeing it, but keep you distance and do not disturb it.

“The dead Cape fur seal next to the elephant seal was not caused by the elephant seal, that was washed up from a strong south-east wind,” Benjamin added. 


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