Fri, 11. Jan 2008
Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,
Positively, Seal Alert-SA 2008
Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA with a rescued new-born baby Cape fur seal
2008 marks a decade for
me in my work with saving the Cape fur seal as a species in
two countries at the southern tip of Africa. Positively
Seal Alert-SA moves into 2008. As I approach the age of 45
in March, they the Cape fur seals, have become my life, not
just a part, but my complete life. My eye-sight failing a
little and my hand not so quick as it used to be, the cold
water even colder. Not a day has gone by that they are not
in my life, I have held, loved, saved, disentangled, fed,
swim with and enjoyed more interactions with these wild
seals than anyone on this planet. It has been indeed an
absolute honour, made possible by each of you the backbone
to Seal Alert-SA, its dedicated group from around the
world, rarely mentioned by name, seldom in the media
lime-light, but always there, expecting nothing in return.
This email, says thanks to you. On my behalf, and most
importantly on behalf of the seals.
Whilst it is impossible to mention each of you by name (then my updates would get really, really long), I want you each to know, that you are far more special than I could ever be. Because even with all the lime-light I get and the gratification with working with these seals everyday, I feel despondent and ignored at times. You on the otherhand get nothing, and yet it is you, which makes saving their lives possible. You, are their saver. Its that simple.
My work for wild seals, a difficult and demanding constant task, has made me not a people's person. I cannot on the one hand look into dying seals eyes and in the other not harbour immense anger. I lost those people skills, if I ever had them long long ago. Forgive me for this omission. I have learnt to just do the job and let my actions speak for my words on your behalf.
The earliest account I can find of the intentional abuse of this species at the hand of man dates back to 100 000 years ago, when the Khoi-San used seal pups for food and oil, instead of saving them. Nor did occur to Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama in 1497 where, we saw about three thousand, large and small, and we shot at them from the sea with cannons another account comes in 1608, where Cornelis Metelief from the Netherlands, our men amused themselves by clubbing fully a hundred seals to death. 500 years later, it seems very little has changed. How it saddens me to think what this species has gone through each and every day, over these centuries and how many millions have died unnoticed. A wild animal that urinates in fear, just being picked up lovingly.
Recently the Guardian Newspaper in the UK voted Paul Watson and Caroline Lucas amongst the top 50 people who are most likely to change the world. The moment I read this I thought of you. Seashepherd has also announced the Ian Campbell the former Australian Minister of the Environment has joined the board of Seashepherd, along with Horst Kleinschmidt former director-general of Marine and Coastal Management in South Africa, and a director of IWC. Once again I thought of the nameless you.
Whilst Horst during his office rejected Seashepherd and had me arrested for saving seals numerous times, whilst offering a bounty for fishermen to drown seals. It is through you that Horst and Seashepherd are together. Paul Watson's base in Australia, from which he gathers his support and mounts his anti-whaling operations in the Antarctic, is once again brought about by a very special seal supporter in Australia. Whom was first introduced by me to Paul. Likewise, when both his ships were de-flagged and unable to secure a nationality, a Seal Alert-SA seal supporter came to the fore and made it possible in the Netherlands. I remember the fight well, with Caroline Lucas, and how in her written declaration, the action that may well lead to ending seal clubbing, resulted in her omission to exclude Cape fur seals, the second biggest seal hunt in the world. Likewise was our initial none involvement in the recent EU Seal Hunting review. So whilst I commend Paul and Caroline, they truly deserve the honour. It is you, always behind the scenes, that makes things happen.
Likewise without Paul, there would be no Seal Alert-SA or any of its accomplishments. He will always be Seal Alert-SA number 1 supporter.
To which, as a recent article quoting the Canadian Sealing industry said, "One thing I can tell you is that if fur is not fashionable on the runways of Paris and Milan, it's not going to be fashionable anywhere," he said."It's got a tremendous foothold in Europe, and most people close to the situation feel that a ban by other countries is imminent, that it's gone too far. It would be unpopular now for a member of parliament in a European country to support the hunt."
To this end, herewith the latest. The Europe Food Safety Review on Seal Hunting, and there is a public questionnaire to log in and answer. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts to date. Positively Seal Alert-SA 2008, backed by the best supporters in the world. Flippers off to you all.
Get ready for additional monetary demands >from me in 2008, (not massive ones but demands never the less), as we have a working rescue home to complete for the seals, as just the start, and as you all know I cannot do it alone, nor do I want to nor should. So start writing Seal Alert-SA down in your monthly budgets, seal please.
PS - We managed to snatch the last two terrified surviving seal baby pups from the sick Elands Bay saga, and are now safe, tummies full and are now enjoying their first few days of life, with three other siblings in your Seal Alert-SA centre.
A link to the full report is included below.
www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/sealswelfare.pdf or go to www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSAseals.pdf
and the very important questionnaire:
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA