Date: November 12, 2006
A suspected clubbed seal arrives blinded and confused
Eleanor Momberg of the Sunday Independent reports, "Seals Fleeing Namibian Cull Wash up on SA Coast"
As the 2006, Namibian Seal Clubbing season draws to a close on November 15 involving over 75% of the seal species, Seal Alert-SA is still left dealing with the after-shock. Physical damage to these seals that will go on long after.
Over 600 000 seals are affected physically by this slaughter, with 85 000 babies being clubbed, and tens of thousands of seals of all age groups fleeing for their lives away from their natal birth colonies. Many will now die and suffer as a result of man's intrusion into their wildlife.
One such lucky rescued seal, from thousands that disappeared without trace. Tell us all a story, why we must please ensure that clubbing them stops. It can honestly, in a civilised world go on, no longer. Sealing in Namibia must end.
Last Saturday, I received a frantic call from a member of the public. "There is a baby seal falling all over the rocks". Unable to physically respond as I was already dealing with a baby pup rescued minutes earlier, I asked if they would be prepared to risk getting bitten and attempt to transport him to Hout Bay, 20 minutes drive away. Expecting a baby weanling aged 10 months, the clear majority of starving pups stranding, I was a little shocked to receive a 2 to 3 year seal as I opened the boot of the car.
Eyes closed, totally confused and utterly helpless this "hated fish eating seal", although completely wild, posed no threat of attack or biting, but just simply pleaded for someone to take careful care of him during his hour of need. Like a new-born baby I pick him up and when I put him down, tucked in, in complete trust.
Upon examination I could discern nothing physical wrong. He was in good health, although shivering cold, empty stomach and apparently completely blind. Donna, a reporter from Namibia has indicated that fishermen in Namibia are known to throw somesort of powder at the seals at sea, which causes them to go blind. Although I suspect this victim, was as a direct result of the wild clubbing currently taking place in Namibia. I further suspected since being clubbed 1600 km away, this seal fled into the icy seas and drifted blindly for days or weeks, which probably helped reduce his swelling, although there appears to be a slight bump above his forehead. What he must have gone through, blinded and confused, only he will know - and tens of thousands like him.
Seeking not refuge on rock, island or amongst his own kind, he chose the protection of man, his clubbers.
Immediately I was at a loss with what to do with him. He needed the sea, but could not be placed on my raft as he had no control over his movement. I decided to take him home. He was like jelly in my hands. Is this the type of marine creature we walk up to and club? Is this termed a fair hunt and chase, or is this just sick?
For the next few hours I pried open his jaws and inserted pilchards one by one into his mouth. He was exhausted and I needed to prop him up as I feed him. For the next three days this continued, not a sign of physical active life. Although he urinated, his did no stools indicating his stomach and intestines were completely empty. Slowly he recovered and could stand on all four flippers, unaided. Tons of love, rubbing and massaging, has developed a deep trusting bond. Whilst initially bumping into everything, even the wall. He now appeared to guide his way by my scent and voice.
I rigged up an observation pool, where he now spends almost the entire day. He is now eating close to 8kg of pilchards a day. Although I have only known him a few days, and he is as wild as can be, there is this incredible bond of trust and togetherness from both sides. He is recovering and improving, and I am hopeful that he will regain his sight.
As he regains his senses, he is becoming more alert, and as he does so, he feels more vulnerable. Even the wind in the trees frighten him, or a bird flying over head. In fear and insecurity, he dashes into the kitchen and lays down by my feet. Where-ever I move, he moves.
Whilst I shared this past week with this wild seal. The thought just keeps repeating, do we have the right to club 85 000 of them every year? Once knowing these highly intelligent creatures, clubbing them is akin to raping a human baby. People who support or do this, crime against nature must be stopped.
In a few days, I hope to try and introduce him to the raft, the sea, and the other seals, and hope, he has sufficient senses of smell and sound, to carve out a new place for himself, in our world. In a world in amongst all this madness, that offers these seals a little hope and protection. This world of boats, wetsuits, jetski's, vehicles and rafts you have all helped create.
Lets end this Namibian Sealing together, before the season starts again in July 2007.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
PS - These websites all contain a little more info.
http:// www.actionagainstpoisoning.com/page2/page154.html also http://www.canadianvoiceforanimals.org/ and www.seashepherd.org