Spotted: 'Vagrant' leopard seal comes ashore at Cape Town beach, residents warned to keep away

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A leopard seal at Kommetije in Cape Town.
A leopard seal at Kommetije in Cape Town.
City of Cape Town
  • A leopard seal has come ashore at Kommetjie in Cape Town.
  • The animals usually live on pack ice in the Antarctic.
  • Authorities have warned the public to give the seal space.

Cape Town welcomed an unusual tourist to its shores this week - one who has travelled all the way from the Antarctic region - a leopard seal.

On Wednesday morning, the leopard seal came ashore in Kommetjie on the northern section of the beach towards Noordhoek.

Leopard seals primarily inhabit the Antarctic and live on the pack ice, but can also be found on the sub-Antarctic islands.

"On occasion, individuals arrive on our shoreline and are then scientifically known as 'vagrant' leopard seals. When they came ashore in the past, they did not stay long and generally moved off quite quickly," the City said in a statement.

READ | Leopard seal spotted on Cape Town beach, residents cautioned

"The animal has been assessed by officials and the SPCA, and is currently not suffering and has no significant injuries."

The environmental departments of the City of Cape Town and the national government agreed to leave the animal alone to move off as and when it decides to.

Its movement and health would be monitored. 

"I want to warn members of the public that leopard seals are dangerous animals, and we ask that people keep away from it and to especially keep young children and dogs well away from the seal," said Marian Nieuwoudt, the City's mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment.

"A Shark Spotter has been deployed to the animal's location to keep the public informed and to ensure the animal is given the appropriate space."


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