From: Seal Alert-SA
Date: June 24, 2007
Namibia's Baby Seal Slaughter Goes 'Live' Daily On Advertising Wall in South Africa

Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,

Namibia's Baby Seal Slaughter Goes 'Live' Daily On Advertising Wall in South Africa

 

The Star-Wall in Johannesburg CBD donated by the Star Newspaper

 
        The team at Uncaged Action Group, have done it again. Designed and painted by Anastaya Eliseeva and her team, Aragorn, Jacky and Shantal. The senseless, cruellest and most sadistic slaughter of endangered seals is now up for all to see on the Star-Wall, an advertising wall donated by the, The Star Newspaper in busy Johannesburg's central business district.
 
        By far the best known advertising wall in South Africa, which is actually a land-mark to those in the know, and situated on one of the busy roads that lead into the city. Now thousands of passing daily motorists will know about the seal slaughter in Namibia.
 
        Thanks to Anastaya and her team, South African's can no longer claim "they" did not know about the senseless seal slaughter, of our own Cape fur seals being slaughtered in Namibia.
 
        On July 1, sealers will begin rounding up nursing baby seals still suckling with their mothers, and daily for the next 139-days club and stab the life out of these endangered tiny baby infant seals in their quest to reach their 85 000 pup quota set by the Namibian government each year.
 
        So com'on South Africa, and give our Cape fur seals some support.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA


Seal Alert-SA Press Release

June 21, 2007
10 days to go to the annual Baby Genocidal Seal Slaughter in Namibia.

On National TV Dutch Environmental Minister Sends a Clear Message to Namibia and its Three Sealing Companies -
Your Imports are No Longer Welcome, and are Banned

 
Protests in South Africa and London

 
 
      On Wednesday the 20th June, (just 11 days before Namibia is to commence its annual slaughter of baby Cape fur seals), the Netherlands Environmental Minister Gerda Verburg, told Parliament and recorded on National Television, that after due procedures are passed, the new law will become effective after this summer (September). Stating, "The most time consuming is the total ban on Cape fur seal products. The international trade in these products is regulated very strictly and some additional steps had to be taken to reach a total ban".
 
      Seal Alert-SA and its supporters have sent Minister Verburg a thank you letter, as well as to the Social Party and PartyforDiere, for their unwavering assistance in having Cape fur seal products, which will include skins, furs and oil products, banned in total from import into the Netherlands.
 
      The Netherlands now joins the four largest in-coming international tourist countries to Namibia, like the US, SA, Belgium and Germany countries, to recently introduce laws which ban imports of Cape fur seal products specifically.
 
      In the process, sending a clear message to Namibian Minister of Fisheries Iyambo and his three sealing concessionaires, that their sick international trade of baby Cape fur seal and adult bull seal products, in any form, are no longer wanted in the Netherlands.
 
      Hopefully with the US, Mexico, Belgium, Italy, Germany and now the Netherlands banning specifically Cape fur seal product imports. The Namibian Ministry will take note, and announce an end to its horrific sealing policy of clubbing nursing baby seals to death commercial in their annual cull, before the start of this year's sealing season just days away.
 
      Alternatively, Seal Alert-SA will be seeking a tourism and diamond boycott of Namibia's products.
 
      No country in the world or Minister, has the right to endanger or risk the extinction of a species, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that they don't, said Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA
 
      Although the trade in Cape fur seals, a listed endangered species, under Appendix II, is controlled by the United Nations Convention In Trade of Endangered Species (UN/CITES), our official complaint to the Cites Secretariat to intervene to stop the 2006 genocidal slaughter of all the new-born baby seals last year, appeared to fall on deaf ears. Even through the Namibian Ministry issued a press release, confirming the majority of seals were already dying from starvation, prior to the start of the sealing season, and that sealers could not find enough alive pups to fill their largest quota on record of 85 000 baby seals, the second largest seal harvest in the world.
 
      Seal Alert-SA hopes, the Netherlands decision will send a loud and clear message to the Cites Secretariat, as well.
 
      See below for published Newspaper Articles.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA


  Newspaper DE TELEGRAAF


      

        we 20 jun 2007, 18:29

 BAN ON SEAL PRODUCT TRADE AFTER THIS SUMMER


THE HAGUE

The trade in seal products will be banned in The Netherlands after this summer. This was announced by Minister ofAgriculture Gerda Verburg this Wednesday in the 2nd chamber of Parliament.
Verburg declares in a letter that the Raad van State has advised on the proposed ban on the the sale of harp seal, hooded seal and Cape fur seal products. After due procedures are passed, the new law can become effective after this summer.              
Most time consuming is the total ban of Cape fur seal products. The international trade in these products is regulated very strictly and some additional steps have to be taken to reach a total ban. It is expected that this can be done before the end of this year.
An exception for this trade ban is made for the traditional seal hunt of the Inuit, the Greenland eskimo's, for live animals and products that have been regularly imported into The Netherlands.
In the last days of his function Verburgs predecessor Minister Veerman promised the 2nd chamber such a ban, meeting the wish of the 2nd chamber, expressing its abomination of the culling of seal because of their fur. 
The Netherlands is not the first EU-country to ban this seal product trade. Belgium was first and Germany is taking steps towards the same ban. Greenland has complained to the European Commission against the Belgian ban that would violate free trade.
           
      

Newspaper  TROUW

 
BAN ON SEAL PRODUCT TRADE
  
(Novum) -
The trade in seal products in The Netherlands will be banned not later than September. It concerns the products of harp seals, hooded seals and Cape fur seals. This was announced by Minister of Agriculture Gerda Verburg on Wednesday to the 2nd chamber of parliament. It was announced earlier that a ban by July was not feasible.
In other Eurpean countries like Belgium and Italy have a ban. In the whole EU there is a ban on import of furs and products of seals under the age of twelve days. Now this includes older seals as well. 
Amongst others this ban concerns skins, furs and oil
  

From: Seal Alert-SA
Date: April 17, 2007

Seals and Filming

Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,
 
     Humblest apologies for being so quiet on my updates. The underwater video camera arrived safely (and thank you to those of you who helped fund its purchase). However on loading the software, a nightmare started of crashing systems and PC. It seems I have too many camera software running on one PC, as such I was unable to effectively send out updates.
 
      Filming with the German film crew for Wildlife Nannies went well, and it seems they could just not get enough footage of the babies, and kept returning for more and more.
 
      The workload at the centre is massive. Here is an idea of my time constraints. I leave home 7am, feeding and nursing the babies, cleaning and then disentangling and helping the wild seals on the raft, takes me to 10am. Between 10am and 12am (for now, and which time soon will be taken up with daily coastal seal rescue patrols), I have time to build, respray, fit, purchase parts/equipment and load and pack 20, 5kg boxes of bait. From 12am, for the next two hours, is consumed preparing and making the babies feed for the next 24-hours (involving 10 litres of mineral water and descaling 120 fish). At 2pm its the babies second feed for the day, and attending to the other seals on the rafts, takes me to 4pm. Between 4pm and 7pm, I can continue whatever work needs to be done. At 7pm, its back at the centre for the babies night feed which lasts until 10pm. Then home for supper.
 
       We are now at day 150, the longest a group of baby Cape fur seals, have ever, in the history of human and Cape fur seal interactions, worldwide been successfully rehabbed. I am so proud of Alpha, Omega and JT, they are teaching me much. Which will continue, until self weaning around day 365, a full year. No evenings off, no weekends, no holidays, no break - no occasional night out with the wife - and I am loving every minute of it. This is the 5th year in a row of doing so. A wild baby seal (which appeared motherless on the nearby Hout Bay awash rock seal colony). (Note resprayed jetski in background, more on this later....)
 
      According to our Fisheries Minister, commercial fishing will collapse and wild fish will be gone by 2048 .... but Cape fur seals are thriving (go figure). He also claims only two species Yellow Tail and Snoek are managed well and exploited optimally, the rest are threatened or collapsed. (What exactly does he mean?, is he saying we are overfishing these two so well that soon they will collapse - can you believe this fishery talk. Under the Constitution all fishing is supposed to be sustainable????. A dear old friend named "Bull", going blind and starving to death, had the unfortunate luck of becoming entangled in no less than 5 Yellow Tail loops discarded with the attractive tails still attached. It appears, every Yellow Tail and Tuna season, ropes looped around the tails are cut off when frozen and discarded, tens of thousands of loops and tails are involved - entangling many unfortunate victims (in this well managed optimally exploited fishing industry). I freed him.
 
     Mumkin has chosen to stay, but goes to sea for days. In the pic above, he has just returned from a 3 day and night outing, and can hardly keep his eyes open. Off to the seal centre for his feed.
 
     Another unfortunate victim of our fisheries, in reality, I have almost freed a seal a day, including the one above. This morning alone, six seals came in needing help.
 
     In the coming weeks, I plan to send you various pics taken by the various cameras, the head cam, underwater cam, pole cam etc. Above and below you will experience their world, and I will reveal what I have been doing to the jetski, catamaran, centre, rafts etc.
 
     To those of you who have sent Seal Alert-SA some funds, thank you kindly its desperately needed. On this subject, I incur annually as operational costs over 250 000 rand  (USD 35 000) in direct rescue/rehab costs. Another 100 000 rand (USD 14 000) is going into the revamp, and another 200 000 (USD 28 000) is required to complete the outside part of the centre and disentanglement/large seal rehab area. Then funding is needed to get seals back on islands, the Namibian cull etc, etc.
 
     Take at second look at my work-load, and you will see my only link with the outside world is you. There is just no time spare to find potential supporters. So if you can please help, keep the ball rolling, please do. If I can raise sufficient funding towards completing the centre to a "tourist viewing facility", Nelda and I could generate sufficient funds by charging a viewing fee, and become self-sufficient. So I ask you, please dig deep for one last time, and I will do the best with what is received, as I want to complete building work before winter rains and the mass of pups start stranding, and baby pupping season beginning again.
 
     On this subject, I look around at what we together have achieved, and the equipment acquired, and it makes me really proud, when remembering how each one of you contributed in your own special way. Lets make this final push a reality, for I guarantee great things will come from it.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA


* . *

From:
Seal Alert-SA
Date: March 14, 2007

Huge Thank You to All who Helped with
Acquiring Video Camera for the Seals


Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,
 
      Within 24 hours, we now have sufficient funds to acquire the video camera, Earle has just informed me. Our good friend Eddy, besides a donation has allowed us to make use of his courier service, so I should have the camera, next week. So a huge thank you to all that made this possible, Paul Watson kindly wrote that he too will be in Canada, and will make up any shortfall we have.

      After a number of years of working on this open jetty in all weather conditions, I have experienced the most terrible abuse of seals that have come to Seal Alert-SA needing help. Weak pups falling in concrete holes and drowning, poachers hitting seals (to chase them away so that they can poach crayfish in the rocks)with bottles or physically hitting them with sticks or stabbing them. My constant ever changing group of 25 - 50 seals (or 1000 a year), undergo constant harassment. Even from well meaning members of the public.  To put it mildly, it has been a nightmare for both me and the seals. 
 
      As the centre,is nearing completion, in sense of the babies and the two pools - in so far as we have a nice working environment. With Mezzanine level and office space, and dive lockers, additional roller-shutter doors still to be addressed. My next priority, once the jetski is complete and both are serviced. To focus on the Catamaran's revamp (this will be the babies next floating home by May/June). If funds are sufficient, my next priority is to address the evils mentioned above created by the open jetty. In the pic on the right above, this lower pier, will be my next focus. The half broken wall will be removed, above on the higher pier, I would like to construct, a 2 metre high solid brick/concrete wall to run down its length. This will give the seals the protection they need when I am not there or away on rescues. I plan to level the floor with a slight incline, and put an access ramp from the centre onto this pier, and at the far end, a ramp into the sea, for the seals to climb up on. Further plans involved two outside rehab pools and a disentanglement area, as well as a launching/retrieving system/pulley for the boats.
 
    Hopefully, this is achieved by May/June. Then, and only then, will I have the peace of mind to leave this facility, knowing they (the seals) are safe, and go out into the wild daily with the babies and rescues.
 
    This is when the filming will truly take place, from May onwards. We plan to post regular segments onto the internet, for you all to download and view, and those with dial-up, we will post DVD's. I will have a camera mounted on my head at all times, and with the latest camera shoots taken of underwater and on the seal colonies, and during rescues. You will experience, what it is like to ride with three baby seals on a jetski out at sea, and see how vulnerable they are in the wild, and how they seek support from each other and me. You will experience what it is truly like to swim with seals above and below the water, and how they hold on. Feel what it is like swimming through white shark patrolled waters, before crawling in amongst a group of wild seals to free an entangled one or rescue one. Feel what it is like to be confronted by a 300kg bull lying down face to face. How they behave and react, and how accepting they are if done right. You will experience seals coming ashore on previously banned islands, and how nervous they are.
 
   You will feel the joy, and see it in their eyes, when a seal is helped at sea. You will experience an amazing visual display of phosphorus in the water at night, and how an amazing blue light is generated, that illuminates the seals every swim motion. Experience the babies joining a wild colony, and how out of thousands of look-alike seals, the babies respond to their call. You will experience how a wild, dying, terrified seals responds to just gentle touch. This is only the start.
 
   So although we are moving slowly, we are moving forward - please be patient. Everything has to do with lack of funds, so when we get, we move forward.
 
   Exciting times, lay ahead. For all you all have done, thank you.
 
For the Seals
 
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
     




From: SEAL ALERT-SA
Date: March 4, 2007

Thank You for the Birthday Thoughts

Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,
 
      Tomorrow is my Birthday, and I turn 44. Thank you all for the birthday messages, you are all most kind and thoughtful, and its very appreciated. Doing what I do somewhat isolates me from my fellow human beings, and as such, things like birthday, Christmas, Easter, Holidays and New Year, become just another day in the seal world. It seems Mumkin has really gotten into your hearts from the messages received from my last email, (He was informed), and it is so pleasing that a species that was seen as 'vermin', with phrases, like 'the only good seal - is a dead seal', has as such been transformed - for this, on their behalf my deepest thanks.
 
     Mumkin refuses to leave. Our previous rehabbed seals returned to the wild and self-survival by mid-January. Mumkin although becoming less dependent on tube-feeding, clearly has no immediate plans to leave the area.
 

    In the pic above, Alpha after watching Mumkin intently, attempts to mimic Mumkin suckling his flipper. Only problem is, Alpha cant get it right to reach the end of his flipper, instead he turns his flipper inside out or tries to reach the end extending it further away. Mumkin introducing himself to Eddy.
 
    Sadly Eddy, after 13 days of rehad died. Initially she recovered well, but then instinct kidded in when she felt better, and this drove her to go home. She would never have survived, and with almost certainty, her mom was no longer around or alive, but instinct is something - a wonder of nature, we have yet to understand. She tried everything to find a way out of the centre, never giving up hope of being re-united with her mom - and this sadly, was her undoing, with no "bond", stress builds, and finally she weakens and dies. No medication, food or love, can change this.
 
     We are now at day 107 into this group baby seal rehab. Last year the group reached day 114, before Max left and Myrna weakened and died. While I am extremely hopefully, there are similar signs (like last year), that the non-bonding issue is increasing becoming an issue. I therefore fear for Alpha and JT. It progresses very slowly, building and building, until the point of no-bond, followed by leaving or death. JT is not suckling on my arm as hard, and the other day, she stayed away after tubing, treating me as some kind of stranger. Alpha, likewise refuses to be handled, and after tearing my arm to almost shreds during each feed, has forced me to wear gloves.
 
     Smell and scent, is everything to them. I recently transferred them into the 2nd pool, and the terror of the 'new smells', made them all impossible to handle for the first 24 hours. I had to leave an item of clothing with my scent, before things calmed down. Alpha and JT will only suckle my right arm, and it must be tongue on my flesh. Omega on my left arm, neck or face.
 
     Tonite, JT vomited after her fed, which is another possible sign, that things are deteriorating. Hopefully the deep bonds the three share between them, will help to carry them through. Fortunately or unfortunately, Omega is not as strongly bonded, as previous pups, and so allows and tolerates the others suckling on me, to a certain extent, provide they only use my right arm.
 
     The pups love the warmth of the infra-red light and Omega is getting to grips with the jetski and where he should sit, when we journey out to sea.How I will handle all three, out at sea, remains to be seen.

     In the coming months my attention is focused on these pups, and whilst this is going on, getting all my equipment, rafts, boats, jetski's in perfect working order. I am presently respraying the three-seater jetski (as without corporate colours/logo, riding in a marine protected area off Hout Bay, to which jetski's are banned, creates endless problems of arrest), even though I have applied for an exemption, and have still not received a reply. Next will be a revamp of the Catamaran (for the pups floating stage 2 rehab) and then the two rafts. Dependent upon what funds are received in the coming months, I will progress the centre accordingly, but for the moment we have a nice working set-up.
 
    Besides the pups and equipment, my next focus is to investigate physically the islands and find ways of getting seals back on them (by hook or by crook). Durban Aquarium called, and it appears they are having no success rehabbing pups or babies, and have asked to see me on the 20th - for advice (more on this development later). Later this week, we should receive the minutes of our meeting with head of MCM, Dr Mayekiso, which I will forward you a copy.
 
    My Birthday gift to you. In the coming months, my wife Nelda, (who will do the editing), and I will make a short DVD film on what it is truly like to do what I do. Going out to sea in storm conditions, swimming through shark waters to reach seal colonies, crawling amongst big bulls to reach a dying seal, seal-less islands, disentangling and much, much more - and of course, the pups integration into the wild. I will be wearing a head-cam, and so the shots should be exciting and very real. I will send you each a copy.
 
    For years, I felt like a lone voice shouting for the seals, but lately - things have changed. It is now my turn for others to shout at me, "Hi Francois. I loved your positive e-mail. And yes I think now you are not a lonely voice anymore. It is March already,  nearly and four months to go before the seal slaughter begins. Let us not keep this quiet till the last minute, but rather do a build up before the count down so that awareness is already created before the first blow. Maybe this time we can get Carte Blanch in. Derek Watts was here for a children's trust golf day - I asked him "why not the seals." But I am sure we can persuade them. I know a bit more, and have seen the factory and layout now - so I come prepared. Everything has quietened down here along the coast. No dead seals, and Cape Cross is is busy but not packed.Keep smiling. Donna and Savannah
 
    Hold thumbs for the babies, and thanks for all the messages. Rest assured all, with your help, I am working on a million ways to help these seals. 
 
PS - Thanks to you, Germany and Netherlands has banned Cape fur Seals.
www.infurmation.com/press_detail.php?id=405. South Africa, is the biggest importer, this we are addressing.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA