Seal rescue group appeals for public support

The Hout Bay Seal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is based at the Hout Bay Harbour. Picture: supplied.

A seal rescue group in Hout Bay is appealing for help so that it can continue feeding the seals at its rehabilitation centre.

The Hout Bay Seal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, a non-profit company, was founded in 1999 by Francois Hugo to rescue and rehabilitate Cape fur seals and release them back into the wild, according to operations director Kim Krynauw.

“We are completely self-funded and rely on donations, sponsorship, and volunteers. Our biggest expense is fish, which is running very low. We are required to purchase fish in January, which is approximately R50 000. We would be truly grateful for any donations towards the fish, which is fed to pups four times a day and to yearlings two times a day,“ Ms Krynauw said.

The centre runs 24/7, 365 days of the year and is called out frequently for stranded and distressed seals.

On Sunday, the centre received donations of three brooms, a mop, three buckets and cleaning products.

“We also received monetary donations that will be used towards more cleaning products and silicone tubing. The tubing is utilised to tube feed the seals, as no seals are habituated,” said Ms Krynauw.

“Some of the donors assist our organisation with performing rescues and as seal monitors and observers. We are truly grateful to everyone for the amazing donations. The centre could not do what it does without these caring people,“ she said.

Asked about the treatment of seals at Hout Bay Harbour, following the SPCA’s seizure and relocation of five seals there last month (“Man arrested for feeding returned harbour seal,” Sentinel, December 1), Ms Krynauw said: “We do not have anything to do with the seal feeders, and the Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre strongly opposes any kind of feeding and habituation.

“The only way to stop this is to continue to enforce the law and to educate the tourists visiting Hout Bay that seals are wild animals and not to come anywhere near to a seal for pictures. They need to be informed that it is illegal and an offence to feed the seals.“

For more information or to make a contribution, contact Kim Krynauw at 072 988 5193 or email HBSRC@compute.co.za.