- Video footage of a seal attacking bathers at Clifton Fourth Beach prompted a warning from the City.
- Cape Town’s deputy mayor urged residents and visitors to “keep a safe and respectful distance from these animals”.
- This followed a seal attack in Strand in 2021 and recent interactions with a Cape Clawless otter at a tidal pool.
The City of Cape Town has urged beachgoers to steer clear of marine wildlife after a seal was caught on camera attacking swimmers at Clifton Fourth Beach.
Video footage of the seal attacking beachgoers at the popular Cape Town beach was shared widely across social media on Wednesday.
The small seal is seen snapping at a boy in the surf, prompting beachgoers to come to his rescue. It then swims behind American actress Loulou Taylor, before biting her.
Taylor shared on her Instagram account that she was bitten six times and had to go to the ER. She shared with her followers that she was on the mend.
The City’s deputy mayor, Eddie Andrews, encouraged residents and visitors to keep their distance from marine animals.
“Residents and visitors are encouraged to treat all marine and coastal wildlife with respect and to remove their pets from areas where wildlife may be present.”
The City said it was “aware of a video of a seal at Clifton Fourth Beach”.
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It has issued similar warnings in the past.
Towards the end of 2021, following an incident on Strand Beach where a teenager was bitten by a seal, the City of Cape Town warned against feeding and touching coastal wildlife.
In November 2022, at Dalebrook tidal pool, situated between St James Beach and Kalk Bay, the City installed signage reminding visitors “to keep a respectful distance from wildlife“.
This came after “posts circulated on social media platforms, displaying visitors cuddling and handling a Cape Clawless otter at the tidal pool”.
The Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre issued a statement on Wednesday, in response to the widely shared video of the seal attack at Fourth Beach.
The centre, which rescues and rehabilitates injured and sick seals, warned that seals would act aggressively if harassed by beachgoers.
“As horrific as yesterday’s incident was, I am not surprised it happened. Seals are wild animals and predators, nonetheless,” Dune Spence-Ross, the centre’s marketing director, told News24.
“Any predator that is surrounded and harassed like the seal was would have reacted the same way, but of course the video doesn’t show the part where the seal is being stressed by a crowd of people surrounding it. Yesterday, the beachgoers were lucky… it was only a yearling approximately 12 months old, weighing no more than 10kg by the looks of it.
“If that was a fully grown seal, the headlines would have been very different.”