Durban - An exhausted seal has beached at Umhlanga Rocks, almost 2 000km from its breeding grounds on remote Marion Island in the Southern Indian Ocean.
The sub-Antarctic fur seal was seen on the rocks close to the Oyster Box Hotel at Umhlanga late on Sunday and was still on the beach late on Monday.
Although its arrival attracted attention from beach visitors, marine experts have appealed to the public to keep their distance and allow the animal to rest.
Ann Kunz of uShaka Marine World said the male seal was about eight years old and appeared to be underweight, but not injured.
“It is difficult to know why he is so far away from home. We can’t say whether it was chased by a predator or got into the wrong current, but we would like people to understand stranded animals need to rest and often return to the sea of their own accord once they have recovered. Unfortunately some concerned people wanted to help it by giving it water or coke to drink, or an umbrella, so Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff cordoned off the area yesterday.”