Cape Town - The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department discovered something different when they helped a Kalk Bay seal who was found with an unusual object around his neck.
Brutus, a resident adult male seal at the Kalk Bay harbour, was discovered wearing a new neck “adornment”.
Belinda Abrahams, a spokesperson for the SPCA, said that Brutus was approached while still in his morning slumber in the sun on the harbour pier.
“Sensing disturbance, Brutus opened a wary eye and regarded his ‘helper’ with disdain but also seemed to understand what the objective was.
“He drew himself up on his fore-flippers and yawned a big yawn, exposing the entanglement that was now noted to be already cutting into his flesh,” she explained.
A piece of plastic was all that could be seen from the outside as the binding it was tied to was already embedding itself into the seal’s thick neck blubber.
Upon examining it, the item appeared to be the string and the plastic base of a child’s sucking dummy sweet.
“No less a danger to marine life than fishing lines or plastic binding and a reminder to us all that anything with a hoop shape that is discarded into nature presents a possible ensnarement risk to a wild animal,” Abraham said.
Harbour seals are exposed to a life of easy food (fish scraps), and fast dangers as well as discarded fishing gear, plastic wrapping from boxes, and other floating marine debris like plastic bags.
Wildlife Department supervisor Jon Friedman who went to have a look and was surprised at the entanglement he saw around the seal’s neck, descrbed it as an unusual find.
“This appeared to be something new, not the usual fishing gut or plastic box binding we find ensnaring seals,” Friedman said.
Meanwhile, the SPCA further encouraged residents visiting areas like the Kalk Bay Harbour to dispose of their waste to avoid incidents like these.
“It is for this reason that we urge all consumers to snap the hoops on things like plastic bottle tops, box bindings, and even the necklace of a child’s sweet before disposing of it responsibly in the nearest rubbish bin,” Abraham pleaded.