Conservation photographer Jean Tresfon took the opportunity to fly up to the West Coast to see where the humpback whale supergroup were choosing to feed. In addition to his excursion and upon request from researchers, he was also “hoping to check the shoreline for dead Cape Fur seals” following the Cape Fur seal mortality event that seems to be ongoing.
Joined by marine mammal scientist Dr. Simon Elwen from Sea Search, numerous beaches from Blouberg to Grotto Bay were surveyed. Upon the stretch from Grotto Bay to Yzerfontein, 81 dead Cape Fur seals of various ages were discovered. Approximately 148 dead Fur seals were discovered from Soverby to Sippers Bay.
Further, the duo also climbed up high and made the crossing to Dassen Island where they spotted both tell tale whale blows and the RV Algoa to the northwest.
“Heading out for a look we found a pod of around 15 humpback whales feeding deep down and DEFF whale scientist Mdu Seakamela doing his best to track them on a small boat in big messy seas. On the south side of the island there were a few boats out and the birds were working a shoal of baitfish with about 5 humpbacks actively surface feeding below them,” says Tresfon.
More humpback supergroups were spotted in the mouth of Saldanha Bay.
“This is truly a world-class phenomenon. The investigation into the seal deaths continues…” Tresfon adds.