Update on washed-up elephant seal

  • 09 July 2013 | Ann Kunz

On 29 June 2013, we rescued a young southern elephant seal that had washed up on Southbroom beach. He was severely underweight and thousands of kilometres from home. uShaka Sea World's animal care team is looking after the seal, named Selso, and nursing him back to health. Here is an update on the situation.

Initially young Selso was treated with antibiotics, vitamins and specially prepared fish, but has recently progressed to whole fish offered by the animal care staff. He has a private area in the rehab centre where he can rest, swim and put on weight. He is currently eating 8kg of fish offered at three-hourly intervals throughout the day, and has put on 6kg since his arrival at the centre 10 days ago. He eats his squid, hake and pilchards with enthusiasm – sometimes a little too much enthusiasm!

For the first few days after he arrived he spent the best part of the day sleeping, oblivious to life around him, but we now understand why they refer to these seals as nature's curious creatures. He reserves the night for sleeping and the day for learning – he is interested and observant of his surroundings, and notices everything. He follows the staff as they move around the centre and can already anticipate some of their more regular movements. He has turned the corner and is now ready to begin the programme to prepare him for his journey back to the sub-Antarctic.

We will keep you posted on his recovery.

Assistant Curator: Mammals and Birds Colette Bodenstaff with Selso. Photo by Ann Kunz

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