In times of social distancing and travel bans, a bull Southern elephant seal, native to Antarctica, was spotted sunbathing on Hout Bay beach. The animal was soaking up some sun near Mariner’s Wharf on the morning of Sunday, March 22.

In the past, these animals have visited the Cape’s beaches to moult. For around a month, the marine animal will shed the first layer of their skin and fur. The old skin becomes very irritable and beach sand is used to help soothe the itch. Throughout the process these massive mammals will not eat.

The moulting process is an especially vulnerable time for these animals and it is important for humans to not interfere.

In a Facebook post shared to Happy Tails by Hout Bay resident Deon van der Walt, a makeshift fence was erected to keep people away.

Everyone’s favourite elephant seal, Buffel suitably decided to make Buffels Bay in Cape Point his moulting ground this year and was spotted there in late February. It is unconfirmed whether or not this animal is Buffel.

Unfortunately, however, the elephant seal resorted to social distancing elsewhere and has since left the Hout Bay beach.

Image: Facebook/ Deon van der Walt/ Happy Tails

Article written by

Imogen Searra