Record number of seal pups rescued after storm

2015-01-02 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Eighty-two lost seal pups ­yesterday bleated for their moms after being ­rescued by caring people in False Bay and ­Muizenberg.

Volunteer skippers and SPCA officials yesterday shipped the pups, which had been washed off Robben Island on December 26, back to their colony.

Local SPCA manager Megan Reid said high tide and strong winds led to the unusually high number of beached pups in False Bay. She said the norm during the Cape’s storms is for only five or six pubs to beach, but they were still getting calls to collect pups until yesterday.

The pups can only drink their mother’s milk.

SPCA officials had been contacted to help return the pups, but strong winds delayed the boats for almost a week until yesterday. Then the race was on to return the young animals to the island before they died of hunger.

Jayson Gilham (35) and Ashley Relf (29), two skippers who made their boats available to the SPCA, said it was a nice to return something to the sea.

After they were released a few metres from the island, many of the pups tried to follow the boat before they heeded the call from the seal colony on the island.

Reid said most of the young pups will be reunited with their moms in the colony, as each pup had a unique cry, much like that of a lamb.

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