WATCH | Cops and robben: 'Santa the seal' back in the ocean after dodging Cape Town traffic

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • A Cape fur seal has been released back into its natural habitat after an unexpected visit to Athlone.
  • "Santa" managed to cross the busy Jakes Gerwel Drive to a nearby residential area, where it was peeking through a fence when it was captured.
  • It waved a flipper at SPCA officials and swam off after being released at Lagoon Beach in Milnerton.

The tale of a Cape fur seal which found itself far from home on Wednesday has had a happy ending after she was released back into the ocean after an unplanned trip to Athlone.

"Santa the seal", as she was dubbed by onlookers, was spotted on Jakes Gerwel Drive on Wednesday morning.

Metro officials redirected traffic as the surprise visitor looked left and right before ambling across the road, while motorists and bystanders gawked.

Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief inspector Jaco Pieterse said the organisation was at the scene within minutes after receiving frantic calls reporting the extraordinary pedestrian wandering through traffic near the Vangate Mall.

At that point, Santa had already made its way to a nearby house, where she was peeking through the fence.

"Because it is a wild animal, it’s natural that it was in distress. But it was unharmed," Pieterse assured.

READ | How a lion, which escaped from game reserve, was captured in Pretoria

The seal was captured and loaded into a cage, before being driven to Lagoon Beach in Milnerton, where it was released.

"It immediately entered the water, rolled onto its side and gave us a wave before swimming off," Pieterse said.

Something like this had not been seen in a "good couple of years", especially not so far inland, he added.

"Quite how a seal got to be there in the first place, so far from the ocean, will remain a mystery. One theory is that it had swum into a canal and was washed further away by strong currents, or that it was intended to be an unusual Christmas gift for someone’s mother-in-law and then merely dumped when its captor saw the price of fish!" he joked.

Pieterse warned that people should not approach any wild animal, especially Cape fur seals, which could be "quite aggressive and will not hesitate to bite when cornered or feeling threatened".

He pleaded with members of the public to add the organisation to their Christmas present list so that it could continue with its long-term projects and services for animals in need.

To donate, click here.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1206 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 6761 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1412 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.06
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.10
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
18.77
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.19
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.0%
Platinum
1,016.09
+0.5%
Palladium
1,674.39
+0.3%
Gold
1,955.43
+0.3%
Silver
24.18
+0.9%
Brent Crude
82.84
-3.2%
Top 40
74,086
+0.5%
All Share
80,214
+0.5%
Resource 10
75,529
+0.5%
Industrial 25
103,140
+0.6%
Financial 15
16,578
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE