Plettenberg Bay, South Africa 21 June – 30 June 2024

Cape Fur Seals Ashore

Cape Fur Seals under the spotlight

Marine mammals are notoriously difficult to study. Stranded individuals offer a valuable opportunity to study both relatively inaccessible wild animals and their ecosystems. The Cape fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus (CFS), is considered a marine top predator and is the only pinniped species breeding on the South African coast. Strandings were recorded between Still Bay (Western Cape) and the KwaZulu Natal border (~1300 km).  The data was assessed in terms of sex, age class, and state (live/dead) of the animals. Over 3700 records were reported in the 15 years, revealing seasonal patterns and peak events, spatial distribution and information on seal pups. The data supports using CFS as an indicator species for the southern African marine ecosystem, with changes in certain stranding patterns possibly indicative of changes in the Agulhas Current ecosystem.


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

11:30 - 11:55