08 November 2013

The one that, in the end, didn’t get away!

Renée Leeuwner – Assistant Communications & Sustainability Manager at Two Oceans Aquairum

Last week, Dr Pat Garratt, Director of the Aquarium, alerted me to the fact that the SAPPI Seal Platform outside the Aquarium was groaning under the weight of juvenile seals.

I headed downstairs to take photos of this phenomenon, which we have not experienced before. And I was not disappointed.

Photo by Renée Leeuwner
Photo by Renée Leeuwner

What a wonderful sight – cuddles everywhere!

Photo by Renée Leeuwner
Best spot on the platform. Photo by Renée Leeuwner

It is then that I spotted this seal.

Photo by Renée Leeuwner
Photo by Renée Leeuwner

It looked like it either had a noose around its neck, or as if a noose had recently been removed. I phoned Vincent Calder (the seal professional) and asked him to come and have a look.

Vince scouts the area and has a closer look. Photo by Renée Leeuwner

It is then that Vince turned to me and smiled with great excitement: “It is Black Raffia Boy!”

I had no idea what he was talking about. Well, it turns out that Vince has been trying to remove the noose from this seal’s neck for the past year! “I cannot let this opportunity go by. We need to close the gate!” Vince eagerly informed me.

Vince then called in reinforcements in the form of Aquarium staff members Kevin Spiby and Maresia Haasbroek. We closed the gate and Kevin and Vince managed to net Black Raffia Boy.

Vince and Kevin work out the best strategy to remove the noose. Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
By then quite a crowd had gathered. This was a great opportunity to talk to them about seal detanglement and ensuring that all loops are cut before items are placed into recycling or rubbish bins. Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
The noose was quite deep and Maresia had to work hard to get to it. Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
Maresia managed to cut the noose – it turns out that Black Raffia Boy was in fact Black Box Band Boy! Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
All done and ready to be released. Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
Vince had to give the seal a hand to get out of the net. Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
And there he is, free from the noose. He jumped into the water as the crowd cheered. Photo by Amir Sadat Razei
A very proud Vince showing the box band that came off “his elusive seal”. Photo by Renée Leeuwner

What a great day!

Thanks to Amir Sadat Razaei from Ocean Adventurer for taking some great pictures.

Read more about our conservation work with seals here.

Stay in touch: for daily Aquarium updates, follow us on Twitter (@2OceansAquarium) and become a fan on Facebook.

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