By: Ann Kunz
Dobby has left uShaka Sea World and is heading home.
Yesterday evening Dobby boarded a cargo ship heading for Cape Town and sailed out of Durban Harbour as the sun set. His time in rehabilitation was over and we believe he is now fully capable of making the 4000 kilometre journey home.
He will be lowered from the ship into the ocean on the continental shelf sometime tomorrow.
Before being enticed into the transport crate with fish (remember he was permanently hungry) he had been flipper tagged and undergone his mandatory pre-release health checks.
The animal health team, supported by the animal care staff, put Dobby under anaesthetic before performing ultrasounds, X-rays and taking both skin and blood samples for analysis. Other than his skin condition, which is a common ailment in elephant seals, he was found to be in perfect health. We are certain that in time his skin condition will improve, and he will complete his moult.
Seal Behaviourists Bilal Limbada and Melissa Verschoor are accompanying Dobby on the vessel to ensure that his ship release goes smoothly.
“I am feeling both sad and incredibly happy at the same time”, said Lead Behaviourist Hayley Tennent”. It has been a privilege and an absolute pleasure caring for Dobby who burrowed deeper and deeper into lives and souls over the past few months. We will miss him and at the same time we are all so happy for him. He has done well and we are comforted knowing that he will soon be back in the ocean heading homewards” said Hayley.
We will hopefully receive information on his ship release tomorrow which we will share on our social media platforms. Until then – we are holding thumbs that all goes well.