Cape Town. 130313. Megan Reid from the SPCA release a young seal that drifted away from its home on Seal Island about 4 miles from the coast. Reporter Zolan. Picture COURTNEY AFRICA

Cape Town - The SPCA Cape of Good Hope reunited a family after returning a four-month-old seal found in Simon’s Town on Thursday to the ocean.

The baby seal, whose sex wasn’t identified, was found on Wednesday morning heading up a canal near a local kelp processing plant.

Factory employees were worried the seal would continue to a neighbouring industrial waste factory and notified the SPCA.

According to SPCA inspectors, the mother of the seal was probably away from Seal Island searching for food when her baby, unattended, swam off.

The SPCA had no choice but to return the seal immediately. Workers couldn’t feed it or even spray it with water because it might have caused extreme shock as a result of the mammal not being in its natural habitat.

While the seal slept in a transportable dog crate on a Simon’s Town Boat Club tour boat skippered by Dave Hurwitz, SPCA inspectors Gareth Petterson and Megan Reid remained confident the baby mammal would be able to reunite with its mother.

They said each seal had a unique call, which its mother could instinctively recognise.

However, they added the mother probably didn’t even know the seal was lost.

While the daily tasks of the SPCA usually include dealing with injured birds and snake removals, Petterson said these were the jobs that inspired him to pursue this career.

“Obviously putting a wild animal back into its natural habitat is obviously a good thing. It kind of makes the job worthwhile,” Petterson said.

After letting it out of a net and into the ocean, everyone on the boat watched at the pup swam smoothly through the current and back to Seal Island. - Cape Times