Plettenberg Bay, South Africa 21 June – 30 June 2024

Vagrant Seals Rescue

Stranding response and rehabilitation of seals 

While Cape fur seals are the only species of seal regularly breeding on the South African coast, five other species come ashore as vagrants. Any one of these species may haul out at locations frequented by people. If they do so, then there is potential for conflict. To reduce the danger to humans and to seals, each incident needs to be investigated. The Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld has been responding to seals ashore for half a century. During this time a protocol has been developed for assessing each seal and deciding on the response. These depend on a number of factors related to the seal, the location and the resources available. When possible and necessary, seals are taken in at Bayworld for rehabilitation. The rehabilitation team has developed a protocol that takes account of the species, age and condition of each seal. The rehabilitation programme has successfully released seals from five species. Some of these have been fitted with satellite tags to allow movement and survival post release to be monitored.


After completing a BSc hons in Zoology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Greg Hofmeyr spend a year on Marion Island as a field assistant on the University of Pretoria’s Marine Mammal Programme. This was followed by a second year on Marion, contract work on seals in Namibia, an MSc on elephant seals, five summer trips to Bouvet Island under the auspices of the Norwegian Polar Institute, and then a third year on Marion Island. Greg is now curator of the Marine Mammal collection at the Port Elizabeth Museum in Gqeberha. During his time there he has completed his PhD (with the Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria) on the behavioural ecology of elephant seals. He coordinates the stranding response programme for marine mammals in the Southern and Eastern Cape. His Interests are in seal behavioural ecology, demography and conservation, and marine mammal taxonomy and morphology.

This event takes place on:

Friday 21 June

09:30 - 09:55