Cape Town - The City of Cape Town and the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) have received reports regarding the harassment of an elephant seal currently moulting on Fish Hoek beach.
Residents and visitors are advised that this is a natural process and ask that all beachgoers respect the seal and give the animal space while he is ashore. Cape Town is privileged to have this unfamiliar visitor on one of our beaches.
The City of Cape Town and the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) would like to remind the public of the elephant seal moulting period which is currently under way. Fish Hoek beachgoers can expect to see the seal ashore for a few more weeks. A moult is a process by which the elephant seal sheds all of its pelage and underlying epidermis.
This annual process can take up to a month to complete.
During the moult, the elephant seal remains on land as the process of moulting renders them sensitive to changing temperatures therefore they avoid the water. During this period, the seal generally does not feed either as it is able to sustain itself through its blubber (fat reserve).
The City and DEA requests that the public respect the elephant seal during this period and stay at least 10 metres away when viewing and photographing him. Tape has been put up to demarcate the area and residents are to please abide by this.
"We urge that parents also ensure that their children are kept under close supervision and don’t go within 10m of the animal. Beachgoers who plan to walk their dogs should keep them on a leash at all times within 50 m of the animal. We ask that you please do not attempt to feed the seal, throw water on it or create any other unnecessary disturbance within close proximity to the animal.