Guest Contributor | Mar 16, 2018 | 0
Dead seals upset holidaymakers
Not to worry, said the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources late this week after receiving many reports of dead and dying seals on the beaches.
Only hysterical seal lobby groups believe seals live forever in seal paradise along the Namibian coast. Namibians know seals die by the thousands every year and that every so often, they die by the hundreds of thousands from natural causes.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said it has received numerous reports from concerned members of the public regarding dead seals washed ashore as well as living seals that appear to be lost or hungry.
“To date Namibia has about 1.2 million Cape fur seals, which is the highest recorded population estimate, and the ministry wishes to inform the public that these scenarios are natural and occur more frequent during the August to February period. The period between November and December is breeding season for seals and during this period many of the pups from the previous breeding season are weaned and expected to fend for themselves. Therefore because of this some pups find it difficult to survive on their own in the new environment, hence they starve and die, while others get lost and end up in strange places instead of going back to their own colonies.
The ministry also stated that pups that are born on islands are at a high risk of drowning during high tides. Mortalities may also result from viral or bacterial infections. Besides natural causes of death, anthropogenic induced mortality, especially littering from fishing gear of nylon material, results in snares that entangle body parts (such as the neck) . As the animal grows, the snare cuts through the flesh suffocating the animal leading to death, while flipper entanglement disables the seal causing it to drown.
“The ministry acknowledges and shares the concerns of the public, however this is a natural phenomenon and very little can be done as it is extremely difficult to rear seal pups outside of their natural environment. The public is advised (as per the Marine Resources Act of 2000, not to touch or remove seals from their natural habitat. The population will be closely monitored and any abnormal mortalities observed will be communicated to the public.
The Cape Fur Seal is endemic to the southern African region. About 60% of the population occurs in Namibian waters.