PICS | 'We could not believe our eyes' - Cape Town beachgoer after discovering dead Aardvark on shore

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Alex was walking the dogs on the beach when noticing the Aardvark carcass.
Alex was walking the dogs on the beach when noticing the Aardvark carcass.
Alex Aitkenhead
  • The female aardvark that washed onshore at a Milnerton beach most likely died of a suffocation or heart attack.
  • An autopsy was conducted on the carcass. 
  • The SPCA said it would be investigating the incident further. 

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA said the carcass of an adult female Aardvark (African Ant Bear) that washed up on Sunset Beach in Milnerton on Friday most likely died of a suffocation or heart attack.

SPCA spokesperson Jaco Pieterse says the carcass was collected by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and kept overnight until the SPCA collected it on Saturday. 

"An autopsy was conducted which determined that the results indicate that the animal was already dead by the time it went into the water. [Even though the] animal was already deceased [it was] in remarkably good shape when pulled from the surf zone by members of the public and left on the beach where it was collected," Pieterse added.

Wildlife veterinarian Doctor Luca Mendes was able to rule out drowning as the likely cause of death.

READ | City of Cape Town reopens Hout Bay beach after tests show water is safe

"The aardvark showed no signs of external trauma that might have indicated how she came to be floating in the sea. Examining her heart, [we] noticed conditions that would indicate that she had suffered from heart failure and some fluid on the lungs would indicate shock lung; which is a state most often caused by suffocation (such as being kept in a box with no ventilation might induce)," Pieterse added.

The SPCA said their conclusion of the analysis of the aardvark was that is most certainly was already dead by the time it went into the water, either having been "dumped overboard a ship close to shore or was somehow put into the sea from land".

animal
The SPCA said a post-mortem was conducted.
Alex Aitkenhead
animal
The animal was already dead when it washed ashore.
Supplied by SPCA

"The SPCA will continue to investigate this mysterious event and will be looking at camera footage and taking into account reports received from several eyewitnesses to help solve this wildlife mystery. The SPCA is appealing to anyone who might have any information to please contact the organisation," Pieterse said. 

Meanwhile, beachgoer Alex Aitkenhead on Saturday told News24 that he took his dogs for a run on the beach when he discovered the carcass

."[After a short while walking] we saw what looked like a dead seal in the water, but on closer inspection, we could clearly see that this was not a seal," Aitkenhead said.  

Aitkenhead said when approaching the animal he could hardly believe his eyes when realising that it was an actual Aardvark (African Ant Bear).

"The female aardvark was in immaculate condition. The ticks were still alive, which leads us to believe that she had died a few hours prior and washed in minutes before we arrived on the beach. We believe that this is a trafficked animal that had died and was tossed overboard, which is why the carcass was in such a good condition," Aitkenhead said.

If you have any information contact the Cape of Good Hope SPCA at 0217004140 or email wildlife1@spca-ct.co.za 


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