Don’t disturb Buffel

2019-02-05 06:20
Buffel has been at Fish Hoek beach for days.. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Buffel has been at Fish Hoek beach for days.. PHOTO: FACEBOOK

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A male southern elephant seal called Buffel is on Fish Hoek Beach and residents are urged not to disturb him as this might be stressful for him.

Named Buffel by the researchers who tagged him, he has caused a bit of a stir among local beach goers.

According to information on the Animal Ocean website, Buffel is believed to be from the Marion Island colony about 2100km away and is resting on our beach while moulting.

Moulting is a process of shedding old skin or fur to make way for new growth. This can take up to a month and during this period the seal does not eat.

Due to the lack of knowledge about the southern elephant seal, Animal Ocean decided to erect a sign at the beach with a bit of information about the seal. The sign reads that beach goers must not disturb the seal, saying: “The elephant seal is healthy and authorities know about him. During moulting the elephant seal does not eat and stays on shore for three to four weeks. The individual is Buffel and was tagged in 2014 in Cape Point. Elephant seals have no fear of humans or dogs. They think we are big penguins,” reads the sign at the beach,

People’s Post tried to get more information about Buffel from Animal Ocean but with no luck. However, the person who answered the phone said they were not willing to comment on the seal and “we don’t want it (Buffel) in the media as a lot of people will go there.”

She went on to say that having a lot of people around can be distressing for the seal.

According to information on the Animal Ocean website, Buffel was tagged (16577) by Steve Kirkman at Buffels Bay in Cape Point in November 2014.

He has since popped up in Paternoster and Hermanus. Buffel was estimated to be three years old at the time he was tagged.

Animal Ocean first recognised this individual last year when he took up residence at Duiker Island in Hout Bay for about three months, says the website.

He is now around seven-years-old and has developed the characteristic nose of his species. His left eye is damaged and there is a scar above it.

The sign at Fish Hoek Beach goes on to say: “Buffel will return to the ocean when he is ready. Enjoy having him on the beach and please take care of him, by reducing noise and [keeping] distance around him.”

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