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Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Alex Cope, Agency: Newsflash
A schoolboy has been praised after he realised that an elephant seal was in serious difficulty and raised the alarm with animal rights officials.
The youngster noticed a group of other boys trying to get the elephant seal back out to sea, treating it like a beached whale when in fact the exhausted animal simply needed time on land to recover in Port Edward in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal state.
The 12-year-old boy, Seth Gurr, who is a pupil at Port Edward Primary, then stood guard over the exhausted seal and stopped anyone else trying to drive it back into the water.
He also raised the alarm with his parents Archie and Mandi, who joined him in keeping an eye on the seal and protecting it from people while they waited for exèrts from the animal rescue organisation National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to arrive.
The seal ended up exhausted and hungry on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast and by the time the rescuers arrived, the schoolboy, as well as his mother and father, were guarding it.
They quickly identified it as a juvenile elephant seal, which they named ‘Buddy’, and spokesman Tokkie Livingstone said that they had decided not to act immediately to take it into care.
Instead, they had left the seal to recover by allowing it to sleep on the beach while they kept watching.
The all-night visual included private security officers as well as wildlife rangers, who took shifts to keep an eye on the weakened animal.
A decision was due the next day whether to move it to a nature reserve, but the seal took the decision out of their hands when it decided to return to the water and swam away.
Livingstone praised the schoolboy and his parents for their dedication in fighting for the seal’s welfare.
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