Originally from the sub-Antarctic regions, Selso was underweight and far from home. The young seal should have been triple his weight on admission to uShaka. Led by resident veterinarian Caryl Knox, the uShaka Sea World Veterinary and Animal Care team liaised with veterinarians and scientists both internationally and locally to ensure he received the best possible chance of recovery.
In August of 2013, Mike Meyer from Oceans & Coasts (from the South African Water and Environmental Affairs Ministry), Nico de Bryn (University of Pretoria) and Greg Hofmeyer (from BayWorld, in Port Elizabeth), all of whom have vast experience in marine mammal management and elephant seals, met with the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) CEO, Judy Mann and the uShaka Sea World Veterinary and Animal Care team to discuss the way forward for Selso.
It was then decided Selso’s best option would be to be released once he had reached a weight of 180kg and had completed his annual moult.
Selso recently reached both milestones, now tipping the scales at 200kg. That’s when uShaka Sea World decided to ask for MSC Cruises’ help releasing him into in his natural environment.
Before his release he was fitted with a satellite tag which will allow scientists from Oceans & Coasts to monitor his whereabouts for up to a year after his release.
Selso was embarked onboard MSC Sinfonia in the port of Durban on 9 January 2014, lifted in a crate on the foredeck and secured under cover. He was released off the coast of Port Elisabeth on 11 January. During his 2-day cruise he was cared for by veterinarian Francois Lampen, and two keepers Colette Bodenstaff and Wayne Sumpton.
“MSC Cruises is proud to assist in Selso’s release” noted Allan Foggitt, Director of Sales & Marketing MSC Cruises SA. “We were approached and enthusiastically responded to the call for help. It was the right thing to do. We at MSC consider ourselves Guardians of the Seas and treat the oceans of the world with the utmost respect, believing that by acting green and protecting the biodiversity, we can all help keep the waters blue. Oceans and life in the oceans are inextricably connected with humans and Selso’s heart-warming story is just a proof of that”.