Leopard seal discovered in WCape

2010-07-17 16:14

A fishing biologist this week made a rare find when he bumped into

a leopard seal in Gansbaai in the Western Cape.

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s marine biologist Katja Vinding

Petersen came face to face with a leopard seal about 40km from Gansbaai.

There are a few sightings of the second largest species of seal in

the Antarctic – after the Southern Elephant Seal on the South African

coastline.

The trust, which conserves the marine eco-system in the Southern

parts of Africa, said: “Leopard seals are known to be fast and agile, even on

land and can be highly aggressive towards humans.”

The leopard seal was in a poor condition and appeared

lethargic.

“It was resting in the sun and did not move much. There were no

wounds and no signs of entanglement in any fishing gear. Its teeth and gums

looked healthy.”

The animal was about two metres in length, indicating that it was a

juvenile, but Petersen could not determine its sex, as he did not want to

disturb it.

The seal was hauled out against a sand dune at the high water mark

and disappeared overnight.

Various organisations including the government’s Oceans and Coasts

department were called to find the animal, but it could not be found.

The trust called on anyone who spots leopard seal to call 082 907

5607.


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