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UPDATE: Western Cape Avian Influenza and dying seals

3 Nov 2021

The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre is aware of reports of dead and dying seals in several areas across the West Coast of the province. Between Laaiplek and Dwarskersbos in the Bergrivier Municipality region, 144 seals were buried this morning with another fifty at Elandsbaai.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, says the provincial government and all its partners have been looking into the matter over the past few weeks.

“The dying seals are not linked to the Avian Influenza outbreak. Rather it appears that the seals are dying due to malnutrition. The situation is still being investigated. In addition, we are urging the public not to feed any seals despite the concerns about malnutrition. The animals remain wild creatures and must not be made dependent on human interaction for survival.”

Bredell says the Avian Influenza crisis in the Western Cape is not yet over but the numbers of dying birds continue to decline which is a welcome sign.

“Yesterday roughly 150 dead birds were found across the province in the affected areas. The bulk of the dead birds was on Dyer island where 122 Cape Cormorants were found.”

To date a grand total of 16 514 wild dead birds have been reported, of which the vast majority affected is the Cape Cormorant.

Efforts continue to address the ongoing outbreak. The public is also urged to continue to be vigilant and report unusual mortalities in any birds to their local municipality, conservation authority or state veterinarian. The SPCA and NSPCA may also be contacted. Contact details for state veterinarians are available at https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services-0#s=Animal-Health-and-Disease-Control

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