Keep on the lookout for an Elephant on the beach!

April 10, 2012 by dyertrust

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (www.dict.org.za) was informed by the Overstrand Municipality of a live bull (male) Elephant seal on Hawston Beach on Friday 16 and Saturday 24 March.

Click here to view VIDEO Footage!

Marine and Coastal Management officials also informed the Trust that this very same seal was spotted near Cape Point on 27 February. Elephant seals are among the largest species of seal on the planet, with bull seals reaching 3,000kgs and 5.0m in length! This bull seal measures just over 4.5m. The bulls also have a droopy trunk-like looking nose, which they use to intimidate rival males during the breeding time. There size and this nose are how they came to be called Sea Elephants, or now, the Elephant seal.

Elephant SealThey are a deep diving seal (upwards of 1500m!) and eat a variety of food including eels, squid, some sharks, and fish. Elephant seals haul out often to warm up before returning to the sea, and this is the most probably explanation for his behaviour and appearance as many onlookers have informed us that he looked pink once out of the water. As to how the seal has ended up on the South African coast and not in the sub-Antarctic waters is a mystery, but nevertheless is an incredibly rare sighting.

It is highly possible he will haul out on a beach again soon. If you see or have seen this seal, please contact the Dyer Island Conservation Trust 24/7 at 082-907-5607 or info@dict.org.za.

Although he looks clumsy, these seals are capable of fast movements on land if they feel threatened, so please do not approach this seal (or any seal) if you see him on the beach and keep children and dogs far away. These are wild animals, and we will be happy to assist you with the animal once we arrive.

We would like to thank the public of Hawston for their respect and protection of this seal while he has been on the beach, and we would also like to thank Penelope, Grant, Shane and lifesaver Anele of the Overstrand Municipality for their information, photos, and assistance!

-Michelle Wcisel DICT