During a very powerful gale in February 2013, many Cape fur seal pups of 6 to 8 weeks old were washed off Black rocks, one of the 5 islands of the Bird Island archipelago in Algoa Bay. Pups this young cannot swim properly but fortunately a number of them managed to reach the beaches along the south east coast; amazingly, one was found over 200 kilometres away at a coastal village near East London. Alert members of the public spotted them and reported their whereabouts, leading to a rescue operation by Bayworld of Port Elizabeth and SANParks, who manage the Bird Island Archipelago, and 25 of the pups were rescued.
These seal pups needed to get back to their mothers within a week for their moms to still recognize them and, with predictions of heavy weather arriving, Bayworld staff speedily returned the pups to Black rocks yesterday. Most managed to reach the island, quite a feat as there are no landing facilities on the island and they had to be released within a few meters of the island and swim to the rocks, and hopefully are now reunited with their mothers.
Editor: The skipper of the Blue Pearl transporting the pups out to Bird Island is well known NSRI volunteer, Maggot – buy me a Fanta Brown one day and I will explain where the nickname comes from.
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