A video of a seal attacking bathers on a Cape Town beach on Tuesday, 3 January 2023 trended on social media last week, with many saying that the attack could have been avoided.
While the circumstances leading to the attack remain unclear, the footage was taken on Clifton Fourth Beach and depicts the marine animal chasing and attacking a young child as it enters the waters.
Adults intervene, separating the child and the seal, which then swims away.
However, as the seal swims through the waves amid calls from onlookers for people to get out of the water, it crosses paths with a second swimmer and attacks her.
Once again, other beachgoers intervene, separating the two.
A man takes hold of the seal before launching it through the air and deeper into the sea.
The clip ends with the seal swimming away.
According to witnesses, the seal was being provoked prior to the attack.
In December, the SPCA’s Wildlife Team was alerted to a young seal on Strand Beach being harassed by the public. The team went to assist and moved the young seal to a safe place a little farther down the coast, where it can rest and recover.
The Cape’s fur seals have a challenging time whenever there are rough sea conditions. Strong waves frequently wash young fur seals away from their colony rocks, where they have little chance of safely rejoining the colony.
They have no choice but to swim to shore, which could be many kilometres away. The seal will eventually wash up on the shore, worn out and in need of rest. Unfortunately, this usually results in them coming into contact with beachgoers who might not comprehend that the animal is simply attempting to rest and regain its strength before returning to the sea in an effort to locate its colony.
Seals – dubbed the puppy dogs of the sea – now share Cape Town’s beaches with an endless stream of human visitors.
The City of Cape Town said they had been in touch with the child and the father from the video who were bitten. They confirmed both were fine after the attack.
Video and Picture: We are South Africans / Samuelle Knoesen