The team at Cape of Good Hope SPCA was alerted to a leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) on the beach at Kommetjie on Wednesday, July 14. This is a rare sighting as these animals are not usually found in the Cape’s waters.
“Although we do not see these visitors often, as they are primarily found in the Antarctic, they have on occasion visited our shores. They are then known as “vagrant” leopard seals,” the SPCA said on Facebook.
There were concerns that the seal might be in distress and have some wounds. “Our Wildlife Department responded immediately to assess our large visitor. Our visitor, a female, is not suffering and does not have any significant injuries. We applied some wound spray to an older wound that appears to be healing. It is quite normal for seals to come out to rest on land as they are semi-aquatic. Seals come to land for various reasons such as resting, to give birth or molt,” the organisation continued.
The SPCA pleaded with the public not to go near the female. “We are appealing to the public to please give her undisturbed and unstressed space, and to keep children and dogs far away from her. She will eventually find her own way home.”
Leopard Seals are known to be very aggressive and are dangerous as their bite can cause severe damage. “We work closely with and consult City of Cape Town Coastal Management, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and Two Oceans Aquarium when dealing with these marine animals. Our visitor is still enjoying our beautiful beach and scenery and have decided to stay a bit longer,” they added.
Shark Spotters were deployed to her location to keep the public informed and to ensure she is left undisturbed.
Picture: Shark Spotters