Sri Lanka offers protection to molting southern elephant seal


COLOMBO, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) — The Sri Lankan navy, along with the department of wildlife and the coast conservation department, said Wednesday that it would deploy fresh teams to offer 24-hour protection to a southern elephant seal which had swum on to the shores of Colombo to complete its molting process.

Local media reports said that teams from the wildlife western region offices and the wildlife veterinary offices would also be included and these teams would stand guard in close proximity to the seal to offer protection.

“Although the molting process appears to have been completed, the seal is seemingly taking a long rest,” wildlife officials told journalists.

Officers added that while the seal returned into the sea at night, it made its way on to the rocks to rest during the day and was often disturbed by a large number of visitors who came to see the seal daily.

Wildlife officers have also on several occasions prevented the seal from getting on to nearby railway tracks in order to keep it from danger.

Wildlife officers believe the elephant seal has been separated from its herd after being caught in a sea current and dragged towards Sri Lanka.

The animal was first spotted in the seas off Mirissa, in southern Sri Lanka in November and then appeared in the seas in Bambalapitiya in capital Colombo, where it is spotted resting on the rocks daily.

The seal had initially arrived on shore searching for a place to molt, a seasonal process of shedding fur.

Experts including marine biologist Asha de Vos have continued to advise the public to refrain from approaching the seal and give it enough space to complete its natural molting process.


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