uShaka is a flipping nice place to be

2013-10-23 00:00

WORD seems to be getting around that uShaka Sea World is the place to be for lost and injured seals.

The marine facility in Durban has opened its doors to a young male sub-Antarctic fur seal they have called Minion because he is so small and cute.

Minion was rescued by KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife staff on a Port Edward beach at the end of September, a long way from his home off Marion Island, 1 920km south-east of Cape Town.

Minion’s arrival follows that in June of a nine-month-old southern Elephant Seal, named Selso, who washed up on the beach at Southbroom, severely underweight and also thousands of kilometres from home.

Staff at uShaka Sea World nurtured him back to health.

Now it’s Minion’s turn for some love and care.

Ann Kunz, spokesperson for the facility, said Minion was underweight and had injuries to a flipper and lower back, possibly as a result of a shark bite.

“When he arrived, the new seal was given intravenous fluids and his wounds were treated with topical antibiotics. For three days we anxiously awaited to see him get better as he was severely dehydrated and weak,” said Kunz.

However, Minion soon perked up, gaining five kilograms as he wolfed down his food.

“Minion is currently being fed pilchards, hake and cuttlefish to fatten him up and gelatine to boost fluid intake. Early blood test results look very good.”

Kunz said once Minion and Selso have gained sufficient weight the plan was to release them together on the Continental shelf off Port Elizabeth, their natural feeding ground. Selso currently weighs 163 kg but has to weigh at least 180 kg before he is deemed ready for release.

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