Dirkie the seal, who became somewhat of a South Coast celebrity over the last two weeks, has sadly died.
“At midday today [Tuesday], the SPCA arrived at uShaka Sea World with a young South African fur seal in desperate need of assistance,” the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) said in a statement.
“Members of the KZN Marine Stranding Network had been monitoring him since he arrived on the Lower South Coast shores 10 days ago.
“When he was first spotted, it was felt unnecessary to admit him into human care as he appeared to be healthy and generally found himself a strategic spot either on top of, or amongst rocks. As soon as he was approached, he would disappear into the water making it difficult to get close enough to render assistance.
“He was affectionately named Dirkie by members of the KZN Stranding Network who posted regular updates of his movements and condition throughout the week.
“This [Tuesday] morning when he was spotted on Margate’s main beach staff from the Lower South Coast SPCA were able to reach him. This time when approached, he did not have the strength to resist or flee back into the water.
“On arrival, Dirkie was examined by SAAMBR veterinarian Dr Francois Lampen who found him to be extremely thin and lethargic. His current weight is only 9.9kgs. Other than a few lacerations on his head, he does not appear to be injured.
“He was given fluids and an antibiotic and left to rest quietly and hopefully regain some strength.
“‘Although it is too early to talk about his prognosis, his condition is serious and at this point we can only hope that he makes it through the night,’ said Lead Animal Behaviourist Hayley Tennant.”
Sadly, in an update on Wednesday, SAAMBR said, “It is with a heavy heart that we share news on the passing of young Dirkie. Sadly, he did not make it through the night.
“Thank you for your kind messages of hope and encouragement. Rest in peace little Dirkie.”