The results of a Western Cape government investigation in an “alarming spike in seal deaths” along the province’s coast is expected this week.
- Hundreds of dead seals have washed up on Western Cape shores.
- A report into the cause of death is expected later this week.
- The deaths are not related to the avian flu outbreak in the province, experts say.
The results of a Western Cape government investigation into an, “… alarming spike in seal deaths”, along the province’s coast is expected this week.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the State Veterinary service is expected to issue a report, following tests on the dead seals.
The province has seen an increase in seal deaths, with nearly 200 seals buried in one day. Experts have speculated that the deaths could be as a result of malnutrition, but they have ruled out any connection with an avian flu outbreak in the province.
Conservation group Sea Search estimates that thousands of Cape fur seals have died.
Bredell said his department is aware of the dying seals that have been washing up along the coast.
“The experts say that some deaths amongst seal populations at this time of the year can be expected. However, what we are seeing is an abnormally high number of animals sick and dying on the coastline. We are committed to finding out why and the State Veterinary service is already conducting tests on dead seals to determine the cause of these deaths. This report is expected this week.”
Several partners and NGOs are, “… working tirelessly on the problem”, said Bredell. Among them is the Sea Search Team, whom the public is urged to contact on firstname.lastname@example.org if they find a dead seal along the shoreline.
“Please send a picture, location and date. The Sea Search team is collating records to further their understanding on the current die off,” Bredell adds.
According to a social media post by the Sea Search Team, hundreds of animals died over the weekend.
“We are doing what we can but it is not enough to really understand the cause of the seal die off currently. We need to do more pathology testing at the vet lab which is pricey, we need to travel north to see what’s happening there and we need more time to collate all the records sent to us by valuable and concerned members of the public,” the post said.
The organisation has also asked for donations to support its response to the deaths over the last two months.
“What we are seeing is an abnormally high number of animals sick and dying on the coastline – and we are committed to finding out why,” the organisation said.