STATEMENT BY NSRI PORT EDWARD DEPUTY STATION COMMANDER TOKKIE LIVINGSTONE:
At 14h12, Sunday, 16 August, NSRI Port Edward duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a seal on Silver Beach, Port Edward.
There were concerns that the seal may be injured.
NSRI crew responded to the scene where a local man, his wife and his son, were guarding what was discovered to be a juvenile elephant seal.
The son, Seth Gurr, age 12, a learner at Port Edward Primary School, had insisted on guarding the seal until NSRI arrived after some children had reportedly chased the elephant seal that was found on the beach into the water.
The elephant seal was being pounded by waves in the surfline and reached the beach before some children on the beach corralled the seal back into the water where it appeared to struggle in the water for some time before coming back to the beach where it was then guarded by Seth and his parents, Archie and Mandi.
NSRI Port Edward crew arrived on the scene and the KZN Marine Animal Stranding Network were alerted.
KZN Marine Animal Stranding Network members, Ezemvelo Wildlife rangers, Ekubu Estate security officers and Wolf Security officers arranged to guard the seal on the beach through the night in shifts and plans were set in place to remove the seal to either Mpenjati Nature Reserve in Port Edward or to Sea World in Durban on Monday morning depending on the seal’s condition.
During the early hours of Monday morning the elephant seal returned to the water and swam away.
We are appealing to the public if they spot the elephant seal beached along the coast to alert NSRI Emergency Operations Centre 0870949774 or NSRI Port Edward 0829905951 directly and to prevent the public or domestic animals from disturbing the animal until authorities arrive on the scene.
It is unusual for an elephant seal to be found so far North up the East Coast but there are a few recorded occasions where they have ventured North as far up the East Coast and beyond KZN.
NSRI Port Edward crew have named the juvenile elephant seal Buddy.
NSRI commend Seth and his parents for their assistance and we commend the team who guarded the seal through the night.