Cape Fur Seals are a beloved and integral part of our community. These adorable pooches of the ocean are a welcome sight for tourists and locals alike. Unbeknownst to many are the struggles these seal colonies endure. Making sure our local treasures are rescued, rehabilitated, and released is the only seal rescue unit in the Western Cape: The Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre (HBSRC).
The unit itself is responsible for every seal related incident in the province. With pollution, crowded beaches, and human interference on the rise, the calls for help are never-ending for the team. Most rescues are those that involve exhausted, sick and malnourished seal pups, or yearlings that have been severely injured by stray fishing wire and rubbish that roams our oceans.
Meet baby Lou, the centres latest 10-month-old rescue. Without expert care from the HBSRC, including specialised tube-feeding, she wouldn’t have made it through the night. Cape Towns’ very own Wildlife Wonder Woman and experienced volunteer, Yvonne de Kock, headed-up the rescue herself.
From capture to release, handling, and treating injured or sick seals are no simple tasks. On-site is a team of full time carers that work alongside a network of organisations, including vets, biologists, and nutrition experts, to ensure the most proper and ethical care for each seal that passes through the facility.
As a registered NPO, the HBSRC is predominantly volunteer-based, with dedicated members like de Kock keeping the engine running. The community lies at the core of the organisation and most of the help offered is pro-bono. Caring for and rescuing seals requires specialist attention, gear, medical equipment, full time observation, and space, to name a few elements – all of which are in high demand and short supply.
With the breeding season fast approaching, the Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre needs local support more than ever. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to help!
-Volunteer: There are never enough hands on deck when it comes to seals. Get stuck in with maintenance and actual rescues themselves.
-Donate or sponsor essential goods: The centre is always in need of fish (Pilchards and Sardines), dog crates for rescues and transportation, pup milk, and cleaning materials (non-toxic disinfectant).
-Monetary donations: A little goes a long way and sparing some change to save a seal is a quick way to make a massive difference.
If you would like to financially support, donations can be made to:
Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre
First National Bank
Account Number: 628 464 01579
Branch Code: 255355
SWIFT Code: FIRNZAJJ