Date: December 9, 2006 4:12:59 PM
Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,
9 Baby Seals and 2 Weanlings in NEW Seal Centre, and good news,
more good news, and still more ....
I am writing this from the new Cape fur seal rehab centre. Whilst the universe took 7 days to create. Thanks to you - in 12 days we built a Seal-World. We emptied this 13 m by 5 m room of its ships rubble that took 22 truck-loads to cart away. Built two brick and concrete swimming pools (5m by 2m) and two rockery/seal islands. Knocked down the far wall and installed a roller-shutter door. Installed power, lights and water. A sea-water pump.
May I ask you all to send a short email thanking Oceana's CEO Andrew Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and his factory Manager at Hout Bay, Mr Deon van Zyl (email@example.com). Since becoming aware of the seal entangled abroad one of their trawlers (its was freed and safe) some weeks back, Mr Marshall has been a CEO of outstanding concern for the welfare of these seals, his manager van Zyl, responded promptly and immediately and made the premises available. As the largest fishing company in southern Africa, we are indeed grateful to Oceana for letting us have these premises "free of charge" indefinitely. This is an incredibly positive benefit for the future rescue and ultimate survival of this species. We now have a nerve-centre for the seals.
Whilst construction was frantically underway, 7 pups and 2 weanlings were kept in the Beauty Without Cruelty - "Spirit of Seal Supporters" catamaran on its trailers outside my house and a further group of 4 from another colony were kept in my back garden in a temporary holding tank. All 13 seals were desperate for their new facility. Sadly, two very weak (the smallest) died.
Seal Alert-SA's informal seal stranding network covers 9 offshore seal colonies and pups were collected as far as 250km in either direction. As seen from the pic above once seen only as fish-stealing "garbage". City Council refuse workers who once used to discard these days old baby seals on rubbish dumps, now assist Seal Alert-SA to recover them, using even the garbage bag itself to hold baby seal until Seal Alert-SA can make the pick-up.
Feeding time, which is every four hours is something else. Carefully attention has to be made in who has been fed and who has not. It can get a little confusing.
To give you some idea of how much is involved in each days feed. 20 litres of mineral water and 20 kg of fish per day. 1200 heads and tails need to be cut-off each fish. Preparing their feed requires 6 hours and feeding itself takes another 6 hours. This is for just 10 baby seals, if 20 or 30 arrive this season, it doubles or trebles the time involved. Then there is still Mumkin and the 15 weanlings and the actual rescues, transport, etc, etc. My days start a 4am and end exhausted at 11pm.
My immediate real concern for the centre, is the chill/cold factor, created by the gale force winds. The roof desperately needs to be repaired urgently to bring down the internal wind factor. Funds are desperately short, but if you can help here please do, as I am afraid without sufficient warmth babies will suffer.
So now it is time to thank each and everyone of you - for making this possible. You are truly amazing people. The babies have their own pool filled with sea-water, a rookery and plenty of good sunlight and fresh air - (tummies are full and they love it). We can handle about 30 in one pool, and we still have the other pool for larger seals and their rehab. A place to house our rescue craft of jetski's and rubber-duck. On their and my behalf, my deepest, deepest thank you.
Much, much work needs to be done. We still need to paint the centre, repair the roof and walls, install another roller door for immediate jetski launching directly off the pier and place a secure steel fence over the roof to protect the facility and babies (in the meantime I have hired an evening security-guard). I would like to fence off this pier along-side (and with the pic on the right) break the wall down and put a slip-way down into the water. This pier would then be used for (second stage rehab) and to disentangle seals. The rafts and Catamaran boat will be used for final stage return to the self-survival in the wild. So if you have any cash spare after your Christmas spend, we really need it.
So whilst others run campaigns costing over tens of millions rands or build 70 million rand office buildings or dont even know the difference between Harp seals or Cape fur seals, Seal Alert-SA struggles to raise 40 000 rand (6000 dollars). With an annual budget of just 70 000 dollars - I save over 1000 seal lives.
and now some more good news .....
Green Party MEP UK, Caroline Lucas reports back from her meeting with the EU Commissioners. Could we please send her a thank you (firstname.lastname@example.org). Commissioner Kyprianou also responded officially.
From: LUCAS Caroline
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2006 6:12 PM
Subject: Reply to your fax regarding Dr Lucas's meeting
Dear Mr Hugo and Ms Botha,
I am writing in reply to your fax dated 21 November 2006, and to update you on the outcome of the meeting between myself and Commissioner Dimas on the 8th November.
During the meeting it transpired that in principle there is no problem in extending the EU ban to include Cape Fur seals. However, the real problem, not just relating to Cape Fur seals, but the seal hunting ban as a whole, is that the Commission believes it will be difficult to get any legislation passed as there is uncertainty over the legal basis for a ban. Commissioner Dimas is well aware of the issue surrounding the inclusion of Cape Fur Seals in the ban, and is sympathetic to our cause. Our efforts must now be concentrated on ensuring the Commission finds a legitimate legal base. I met again with Commissioner Dimas on November 30th and he assured me he was doing his best to achieve this.
We are still awaiting a date for the meeting with Commissioner Kyprianou.
Caroline Lucas MEP
and still more good news .....
De Beers the largest gem diamond producer in the world, and were 70% of the Cape fur seals in South Africa have colonised on their land and a further 50% of the Namibian Cape fur seals in Namibia equally occur, where clubbing of baby seals has taken place for over 60 years. De Beers has now commissioned Accountability to undertake a De Beers Reputation Research and Seal Alert-SA has been asked to partake in an interview involving 20 external stakeholders which will hopefully guide this corporate giant in its environmental (seal) policies over the next 2 - 5 years. My 60-minute conference call from the UK is scheduled for Monday.
I will not send well wishes now, as I will be reporting back again shortly. Earle Bingley has send out a lovely voice-message (see attached) - Cape fur Seals - Merry Christmas.
and more news ....
http://allafrica.com/stories/200612080340.html. My only concern with articles like this, is that although there is overwhelming evidence of global warming, most issues occurring today, can be traced back to a cause far more obvious, greed and overfishing. Yet, not once is this acknowledged and all blame directed elsewhere.
Finally. From our eastern most seal colony, restricted to a small awash rock (whilst 6 large islands nearby remain banned in a bay once known as the "Bay of Seals"),over 200 baby seal pups (90% of them) washed ashore over 2 days (600 km away), and for the first time since the late 1970's government mobilised the air-force to ferry the pups back to the awash rock. A somewhat wasted exercise in that it is unlikely that these pups will survive or be re-united (as past experiences have shown), but at least it shows government is changing its policy towards seals and at least reacting to their seal crisis. A far simpler policy, would be to unbanned the islands, and baby seals would not then wash off annually from small restricted awash rocks.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA.