Buffel is a southern elephant seal who has made his way to False Bay, all alone, in order to moult. He has been calling Fish Hoek Beach home for the past couple of weeks while he sheds his old fur, revealing a fresh new look before his onwards journey. This process can take up to a month, and during this time, elephant seals will not eat but lie idle in the sand, giving their bodies time to recover while living off stored blubber (fat reserve).
Elephant seals do not swim in Cape oceans very often, and Buffel is most probably here from Marion Island some 2100 kms away. He is about 6/7 years old, and his species usually spends most of their time in the frigid Antarctic waters. This is not the first time Buffel has visited our shores, and it’s a pleasure to have him back. He was tagged in 2014 in Buffels Bay, Cape Point, by Steve Kirkman.
All Fish Hoek beachgoers, and interested passers-by, have been asked to give Buffel his space while he is moulting, and to keep a distance of about 10 meters from the animal. Shark Spotters are working with the City of Cape Town to ensure Buffel’s comfort during his stay. Caution tape has been erected around him, and he is happy and comfortable. It’s a great pleasure and a privilege to have this enormous animal visit our shores, and we should all count ourselves lucky to have witnessed this incredible natural event in our lifetimes, few rarely do.
Check out this video from Eye Witness News.
If you are interested in volunteering with sea animals, we have our Ocean Conservation project where you will take an active in the conservation of marine life.
Good Hope Volunteer Team
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