15 C
Mossel Bay
12th Aug 2022
Nature & Nurture

Message from S.M.A.R.T.: Watch out for Seals and Nurdles on the Beaches

As the holiday season draws closer and closer, we at S.M.A.R.T know that the seal pup season is drawing closer too. Every year, from early November until February, Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus) pups appear on various beaches in the Mossel Bay area. After stormy seas with high waves, hundreds of these pups may be swept away. Many of them are washed up on the coast, mostly from De Bakke beach to Hartenbos Beach, but could be found on other beaches too.

If you do find a seal ashore, whether it is a pup or an adult, please call S.M.A.R.T – 072 227 4715 immediately.

Very important that you do not disturb the animal, talk quietly and move slowly, but remain close to it, if you can, until an accredited person collects the seal. Please ask other people not to go too close, as stress could be fatal, and please keep dogs away from the animal. Very important to please not put a seal pup back into the water, as it will drown, and please refrain from pouring water over the animal.

ALL seals are protected under the Seabirds and Seals Protection Act of 1973 and it is an offence to disturb them.

 “What are Nurdles?” Nurdles are small, plastic pellets – the raw material from which plastic goods are manufactured.

So why are nurdles so dangerous?

Nurdles are mistaken for food by many marine animals and seabirds. Nurdles have the capability of attracting and

concentrating environmental pollutants like DDT and PCBs to highly toxic levels. These toxins are ingested by the animals and in so doing enter the food chain. The nurdles also fill the animals stomach and in so doing prevent it from ingesting proper food.

Nurdles are very small and often their colour blends in with that of the sand making it tricky to spot them, but it is very important that we remove nurdles from beaches, rocks, pools and streams. When collecting these nurdles, please do not dispose of them in the rubbish bin as then they will end up at the dump where scavengers might ingest them. If you collect them, please contact S.M.A.R.T and we will direct you as to where you can dispose of them.

We appeal to all residents and visitors to please pick up and dispose of any and all rubbish found on the beaches. Many of our marine animals are injured, maimed or dying because of the plastic and rubbish in our oceans. Repeatedly we hear of another entangled seal, a dolphin with plastic in the stomach, a penguin with fishing line around the flippers, a whale with tons of plastic in the intestines, etc. We have the ability to make a difference … if each person going to the beach picks up 5 pieces of rubbish each time, it will make a huge impact.

On that note, S.M.A.R.T would like to wish everyone an amazing, blessed end to this year. May 2020 be a SMART year for you and yours!

S.M.A.R.T (Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team) (072 227 4715) is a non-profit, non-governmental, stranding network with the express purpose of responding to stranded and beached marine animals – dolphins, seals, sea turtles and whales. For more information or to report an emergency please contact 072 227 4715. (www.facebook.com/SMARTMosselbay/)

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