Although sealing has been abolished in South Africa for quite a while now, they still face survival in an increasingly hostile environment. These forgotten marine mammals are viewed as the enemy by the fishing community as fishermen have to compete with seals for fish. With fish stocks rapidly depleting, and with most coastal communities relying on fishing for their livelihood, seals more often than not get the short end of the stick. The general opinion is that the Cape Fur Seal is vermin stealing food from the mouths of hungry poor, and should therefore be eradicated.
Compounding the situation is the fact that these animals have effectively been banned from 98% of their natural habitat - the offshore islands along the coast of Southern Africa - after sealing was introduced years and years ago. This of course drove the seals to the mainland where they come in to direct contact with humans, and naturally the fishing community. The small “safe havens” these animals do have, in other words that 2% of the offshore islands they do populate, are heavily overcrowded and the weak and young are not strong enough to compete for a piece of rock to rest on. The result is drowning or becoming prey to sharks that patrol the waters around these islands. For the precious lucky few who manage to make it to the mainland (or the shore), there is still no reprieve: contact with humans are violent and there are precious few facilities which can cope with the volume of seals needing rescue and rehabilitation. In short, young pups, the injured, or any seal needing any help of any kind, are left to their own devises.
There are many other problems these animals face, you can read about it more on the website, but the above is the bulk of why SASSI.
It is our hope that through this organisation we can teach people that there are solutions available, and to inspire people from all over the world to be as passionate about implementing those solutions as those who started SASSI.
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