Cape Town’s favourite seal is back on our shores! Buffel, the southern elephant seal has been spotted at Duiker Island last week.
Buffel made his first appearance on Cape Town’s famous Fish Hoek beach where he spent 30 days. According to Getaway Magazine he has returned and was spotted earlier this year at Dias Beach in Cape Point too.
Now it seems the popular marine animal has set his sights on Duiker Island as his latest chill-out spot. Southern elephant seals swim as far as 2000 km south of South Africa with an aim to search for a beach to moult upon.
According to Wikimedia, Buffel may be currently undergoing moulting on the coast to maintain his health.
Elephant seals undergo a process known as catastrophic moulting where a layer of skin and hair is shed. This maintains healthy skin and also play a part in the adaptation to their extended deep, cold dives.
“During their dives, they limit the flow of blood to their skin and extremities — most of the blood flow is sent to their brain and core organs. Thus in order to maintain a healthy pelt, they have developed a strategy which includes spending a month on a beach, allowing blood to circulate continuously past the skin, while ensuring that there isn’t excessive loss of body heat”,says The Change Project.
Picture: Sea Search Research and Conservation