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 moulting on Fish Hoek beach.
They advised residents and visitors on Wednesday that this is a natural process and asked that all beachgoers respect the seal and give the animal space while it is ashore, staying at least 10 metres away when viewing and photographing.
"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," said Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment.
"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).