A loggerhead turtle is receiving treatment at the Two Oceans Aquarium after it was found entangled in a discarded fishing net along with a Cape fur seal on Wednesday.
Members of the public found the animals washed ashore at Kommetjie. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) cut the pair free.
NSRI Kommetjie station commander Ian Klopper said its duty crew was activated just before 09:00.
Staff from the aquarium joined them in the rescue operation."We found the two animals trapped in one net and it appears that they may have been drifting at sea for some time in what looks like an old and discarded fishing net, and most likely washed ashore during the night in the storm.
"The seal appeared stressed and, for safety, we used the South African Whale Disentanglement Network's poles and cutting equipment and, in an operation lasting about half-an-hour, the net was cut away from the two animals and they were successfully released," Klopper said.
The seal immediately returned to sea and appeared to be unharmed.
The turtle was transported to the aquarium by staff members who confirmed it was in good health and would be released soon.
The aquarium warned of the dangers of "ghost fishing", which is a term describing the lethal consequences of discarded nets drifting in the ocean.
"Both of these animals are incredibly lucky to be alive. Were it not for the mere chance that this net happened to wash up in a relatively short time, both animals would have drowned. In ideal conditions, a calm seal can hold its breath for about 10 minutes, and a calm turtle up to seven hours, but both these animals would have panicked, using their air much faster.
"Their survival odds were tiny and were it not for the stormy seas around Noordhoek, the net might not have washed up high enough or quickly enough for them to survive," the aquarium wrote on its blog.
It warned the public to be careful when coming across entangled animals.
"Please, always remember that these are wild animals and that, although you are trying to help, the animal may lash out in fear. Please do not approach, move or touch these animals."
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