A southern elephant seal has simply arrived on Dias Seaside close to Cape Level in Desk Mountain Nature Reserve.
Elephant Seals are a rarity to those shores, a number of stragglers discover their technique to South Africa every year, typically becoming a member of Cape fur seal colonies. There are roughly round 10 sightings a yr of this species on our shoreline. The male at Dias Seaside seal has doubtless landed right here for his annual moult.
Southern elephant seals swim across the sub-Antarctic islands about 2000 kilometres south and south west of South Africa. They discover a seaside someplace between Antarctica and South Africa on which to moult. The South Atlantic waters are dwelling to about 400,000 people, together with about 113,000 breeding females on the island of South Georgia. Different important breeding colonies are positioned on the Falkland Islands and Valdes Peninsula in Argentina.
Males weigh between two and 4 tons (bigger than walruses) and females are between 400 and 900kg.
Moulting is a course of throughout which elephant seals shed a layer of their pores and skin. The method takes about one month. That is finished as an adaptation to their deep, chilly dives. Throughout these dives, the seals restrict the blood movement to their pores and skin as it’s is directed to the mind and core organs. With a view to preserve a wholesome pelt, they spend a month on a relatively heat seaside to permit blood to flow into previous the pores and skin with out extreme lack of physique warmth. Right here they survive on their giant quantities of saved physique fats.
Elephant seals are significantly weak throughout this time, and guests are suggested to avoid these marine animals as they endure the method of moulting.
The final elephant seal reported on Cape seashores was Buffel, a daily customer to our shores. It has but to be decided if this is similar seal or not.
Photographs by Anton Crone