Elephant Seal found by locals on KZN Whale Coast – Garvies Beach, Bluff

Post as per Saambr Organisation

“And then there were two!

On Friday morning (12th February) we awoke to messages informing us of a beached elephant seal on Garvies Beach which is on the Bluff in Durban. Our first thoughts were bewilderment at the arrival of yet another Antarctic seal visitor so close to Ragnar’s arrival.

Then to more practical thoughts as to how to relocate a 130 kilogram seal from Garvies Beach to uShaka Sea World. Members of the Metro Search & Rescue, SAPS Search and Rescue, NSRI and Ethekwini lifeguards once again came to the rescue and transported the seal to us.

His arrival caused quite a dilemma as all the available rehabilitation pools were already occupied and we were uncertain whether he would be able to peacefully share Ragnar’s enclosure. He was visually examined in his transport crate and then left to rest and recover whilst the seal and animal health teams set about researching Antarctic seal behaviour. It was clearly evident that he had sustained an injury to the lower jaw which we hoped was merely a superficial laceration.

When he looked at the team with his big dark pleading eyes, it seemed appropriate to call him Dobby after the house elf in Harry Potter.

Over the weekend, upon learning from seal expert, Dr Greg Hofmeyer that it would be in order to place the two Antarctic seals together, we introduced Dobby to Ragnar. It was Ragnar who seemed genuinely pleased at the arrival of a companion. Dobby merely rested on the side of the pool, opened and closed his big eyes and seemed oblivious to Ragnar’s numerous snuggling attempts.

They were later seen swimming in the pool together and we knew that all would be well.

Dobby will have to remain in our care until he has completed his moult (which can last up to four weeks). Elephant seals don’t usually feed or swim whilst they are moulting and spend the month lying around on the islands sleeping. Dobby spends his days doing just that, sleeping.

Being true seals both Dobby and Ragnar have signature big dark eyes and snotty noses and it’s easy to understand how easily they have crept into the hearts of everyone who played, or is currently playing, a role their rescue and rehabilitation.
We will keep you updated on their progress.”

Please follow Saambr social media pages for all the updates on Dobby.

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