Employees from The Table Bay hotel rolled up their sleeves for a clean sweep of the Waterfront on World Wildlife Day, marked on March 3.
The clean-up, in partnership with the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, was led by Brett Glasby, wildlife coordinator of the aquarium’s Marine Wildlife Management Programme.
He spoke about the impact of plastic and other pollutants on marine life, specifically the local seal colonies, and what is being done to protect their habitat.
A focus of the aquarium’s Marine Wildlife Management Programme at the Waterfront is to monitor seals and assist those which get entangled in fishing rope, fishing gear, raffia cord, box bands and plastic bags.
The Marine Wildlife Management team recently spent close to 4 000 hours patrolling the harbour and marinas. During that time, almost 27 000 seal sightings were recorded and 41 entangled seals were rescued.
The Table Bay’s connection with the Cape Fur Seal stems back to its very beginning.
A seal named Oscar had formed an unlikely friendship with a kindhearted fisherman and they would meet every day on the pier near The Table Bay.
After the fisherman’s passing, Oscar continued to visit members of the hotel’s opening team during the hotel’s construction.
He is fondly remembered as the “Original Protector and guardian of The Table Bay” and a statue in his honour stands at the entrance of the hotel.
Oscar’s pups still visit the hotel’s jetty to bask in the sun and are popular photographic attractions. The legend of Oscar the Cape Fur Seal, his friendship with the fisherman and how his golden statue came to be at the entrance to the hotel has also been told in a book called Oscar! by Marc Hoberman (“Legend of Oscar comes to life in new book,” CapeTowner, May 18, 2018).
“Any effort to remove, reduce and recycle plastics and other debris from the harbour, beaches and ocean can help our beloved seals. We hope to inspire people in the community to be more conscious about cleaning up and conserving the environment,” said Sarah Prins, PR manager at The Table Bay.