GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The birth of the Cape fur seal pup is a natural event that takes place between mid-November and mid-December every year.
When born they measure 75cm and weigh 5 to 6kg to the age of seven weeks. They suckle for a year but can attempt to feed on solid foods from six months.
A seal pup's first year is very challenging and a large percentage of them die. Drowning, infections and being crushed by the large adult males are all issues. If a pup is in the water for any reason, it also becomes part of the food chain or they may wash up on our beaches.
People want to help them but do not know how and the pups become panic stricken by the sight of humans and will instinctively try to return to the water, which may cause drowning.
It is not in the best interest of the pups to try and save them. In the event of finding a live pup on the beach:
• Do not remove the pup from the beach (any beach)
• Do not pick up or handle the pup in any way at all
• Do not attempt to feed the pup
• Do not place the pup in a cooler box with ice. These pups are not from the Polar regions
• Do not pour water over the pups if you think they are getting too hot
Call the Eden Emergency and Disaster Management Centre on 044 279 1415 or the Aquatic Protection Group (NGO) on 082 665 3770. The centre covers the entire Eden District.
Remember that the pups are wild animals and they are dangerous. The seals are also protected by law and any attempt to keep a seal pup will be punished accordingly.