SPCA rescues Cape Fur Seal
Image Cape of Good Hope SPCA FB

A Cape Fur Seal has been rescued near a busy shopping mall, after it appeared to be on a mission to join the last-minute Christmas shoppers in Athlone, Cape Town. WATCH videos below.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department, which carried out the rescue, joked: “It seems not even Cape Town’s wildlife is immune to the Christmas spirit!”

The large adult female Cape Fur Seal attracted a crowd of rather bemused onlookers this morning as she wandered into traffic to make her way across the busy Jakes Gerwel Drive, opposite the Vangate Mall.

The SPCA said: “At a time of year when the shops are packed and companies are vying for our attention with all kinds of gimmicks in order to sell the latest fad, we are quite used to seeing strange things at the malls, but when (we received the call about a Cape Fur Seal) even we had to wonder.”


SPCA Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse and Inspector Lwazi Ntungele attended to the seal while City of Cape Town Metro Police controlled the traffic to keep her safe. The SPCA packed her into a crate, gave her a health check, and then released her at the nearest quiet beach. Santa the Seal (as she was named by onlookers) waddled happily off into the ocean… apart from stopping for one backwards glance. Either to show her gratitude, or maybe she was having second thoughts about returning to the mall!

Santa the Seal Cape Town rescue
Santa the Seal – stopping for a backwards glance… either to show her gratitude to the SPCA, or having second thoughts about that Christmas shopping!

“Quite how a seal got to be there in the first place, so far from the ocean will remain a mystery,” said the SPCA. “One theory is that it had swum into a canal and was washed further away by strong currents, or that it was intended to be an unusual Christmas gift for someone’s mother-in-law and then merely dumped when its captor saw the price of fish!

“Either way, Santa the seal (as she was named by onlookers), skipped into the water and swam off with a wave of her flipper, her Christmas shopping will have to wait,” joked the non-profit organisation.

According to the SPCA, Santa the Seal would like you to join her in appealing to the spirit of the season and “sharing her appreciation for the work our Wildlife Team performs (for not only seals) by making a festive donation to the SPCA!”

WATCH Cape of Good Hope SPCA rescue Santa the Seal on busy Cape Town road

WATCH SPCA release Cape Fur Seal back into the wile

Please Note: “The Cape of Good SPCA reminds people not to approach any wild animal, especially Cape fur seals, which can be quite aggressive and will not hesitate to bite when cornered or feeling threatened.” (Two women were recently attacked by a Cape fur seal in the Western Cape.)

It is safer to contact the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Wildlife Department on 021 700 4158/9 or 083 326 1604 and our trained team members will assist the wild animal in need.