About five seals enter the Waterfront harbour with plastic wrapped around their necks every month, which has prompted employees to participate in a clean-up. Picture: Supplied
About five seals enter the Waterfront harbour with plastic wrapped around their necks every month, which has prompted employees to participate in a clean-up. Picture: Supplied

Table Bay Hotel workers gather to save seals from deadly entanglements

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Mar 8, 2020

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Cape Town - About five seals enter the Waterfront harbour with plastic wrapped around their necks every month, which has prompted employees at one of the city’s leading hotels to participate in a clean-up.

Some of the Table Bay Hotel’s workers gathered to pick up cigarette butts and single-use plastics all along the harbour side of the V&A Waterfront, to mark World Wildlife Day. The purpose was to participate in conserving and protecting the wildlife at the waterfront.

Two Oceans Aquarium marine wildlife management programme co-ordinator Brett Glasby said: “The population of seals within the Waterfront area are fluid as they come and go as they please. There is an average of five entangled seals entering the harbour each month.

“Last year, we found nine plastic entanglements around one seal’s neck.” Glasby said the seals would go hunting in the open ocean and would return with three to four plastic entanglements. Fortunately they return to this harbour because there is a team available to disentangle them.

“Plastic box bands are commonly found around their necks, and cut through their skin.

“Most bait fish are found in a box with this band and when fishermen are out at sea they may not always cut the box band off. If it is put into a bin, then the wind blows it out to sea as well,” he said

Table Bay Hotel public relations manager Sarah Prins said: “Since the hotel is situated on the Waterfront, it is important for us to acknowledge the wildlife in this area.”

Prins said that the area was a man-made environment and there were thousands of people entering a space that was an animal’s natural environment. It was therefore important for this space to be respected in a way that could be beneficial to the species and humans.

Glasby said seabirds often ingested cigarette butts which got stuck in their throats, and then suffocated them. He said it was important to pick up the butts in the area.

@Sukainaish

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Cape Argus

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