Cape Town’s favourite seal is back on our shores! Buffel the southern elephant seal has recently been spotted moulting in False Bay.
Buffel, as the seal is affectionately known to locals, is somewhat of a famous face in the Cape. He was often found lazing around Fish Hoek Beach in January 2019 and on Duiker Island in Hout Bay in 2019. Now it seems the popular marine animal has set his sights on False Bay as his latest hang out spot.
According to The Change Project, Buffel is currently undergoing molting on the coast to maintain his health.
“Elephant seals undergo a process known as catastrophic moulting whereby a layer of skin and hair is shed,” explains The Change Project. “This is done to maintain healthy skin and is an 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.”
Residents are advised to steer clear of this marine animal as he undergoes the process of moulting.
Also read: Leave Buffel the seal alone
Picture: Facebook / Pippa Ehrlich (via The Change Project)