Entanglement of Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) at colonies in central Namibia

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Marine pollution is increasing, and pinnipeds are commonly affected by entanglement in waste. We investigated entanglement rates, common materials, and the demographic profile of Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) affected at two Namibian colonies. Overall, we identified 366 cases of entanglement, and present a global rate of entanglement of 0.17%. Entanglement rates were 0.17% and 0.15% for the Pelican Point and Cape Cross colonies, respectively. We identified 17% more entanglements through photographs than binocular scans. Of the 347 entanglements analysed in detail, juveniles were most commonly affected and fishing materials were the primary cause of entanglements (53%), with 8% of entangled seals exhibiting ‘very severe’ injuries. Overall, 191 individuals were successfully disentangled, and citizen scientists contributed 51% of total entanglement data. We highlight the negative impact of plastic marine waste among seals and the importance of disentanglement for individual animal welfare. Keywords: Africa, entanglement, disentanglement, fishing, citizen science, Otariid, Pinniped, marine pollution, welfare.

Publication Title:


Marine Pollution Bulletin

Item Type:
Journal Article

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