We’ve seen a lot of animals, some stranger than others, wash up on the beaches of Cape Town over the last couple of months, which has sparked concern among marine and animal welfare organisations.
The National Sea Rescue Institute Team (NSRI) was called out yesterday, 23 January 2023, to assist with a rescue of a young Sharptail Sunfish who had washed up on Blouberg Beach and needed to be returned back to the ocean.
Video: Sharptail Sunfish washed on up Blouberg Beach
Video: Sharptail Sunfish – Willie Prinsloo / Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement
The Big Bay lifesaving club assisted the NSRI team in loading the sunfish onto the rescue boat, which was not an easy feat, but the teams worked together to ensure the sunfish was released back into the ocean at a safe distance away from the shore.
It’s not uncommon to spot a sunfish bathing close to the shore during our summer months. Sunfish spend quite a bit of time on ocean surfaces soaking up the sun before diving back down into the icy waters to forage. They rely on the sun to regulate their body temperature through thermoregulation, which allows the sunfish to hunt at deeper levels where the water is much colder. This is one instance where we can wish it farewell and hope to never see it on our beaches again.
In more tragic news, three dead seals, one pup and two yearlings, washed up on Strand Beach on 22 January 2023. The cause of death is unknown. Lisa Starr, a nature activist and founder of the Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement, said that the seals are still young and possibly died due to a lack of food supply and malnutrition.
The public should keep at least 20 metres from seals they may encounter. Do not throw water over a seal and call the Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre for assistance at +27 72 988 5193 or +27 82 464 6988.
Picture: Willie Prinsloo / Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement