Namibian seal hunt

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2006:

The 2006 Namibian sealing season opened on July 1, with a
quota of 85,000 pups, 20,000 more than in 2005, and 7,000 bulls.
Adult females are exempted, to keep the seal breeding population up.
Just a fraction of the size of the annual Atlantic Canadian
seal hunt, the Namibian hunt has attracted little public attention
and protest–and even less since South Africa ended sealing in 1990.
As Namibia and South Africa share the same seal population, a common
misperception was that all sealing had ended along the Atlantic coast
of Africa. In fact, the Namibian sealing quota was doubled to
60,000 after 2000, when according to the Namibian government as many
as 300,000 seals starved due to depleted fisheries. Overfishing and
climatic change due to global warming appeared to be the major causes
of the seal deaths, but Namibia claimed the seals had overpopulated
their habitat. Current reports indicate, however, that the
Namibian seal population has never recovered to more than 75% of the
size it was in 1993, the recent recorded peak year.

The Namibian seal hunt has been noticed this year, as result
of internationally distributed daily bulletins by Francois Hugo of
Seal Alert. Initially involved chiefly in rehabilitating stranded
seals at Hout Bay, South Africa, Seal Alert has in recent years
expanded into education and advocacy.

[Contact: Seal Alert c/o Box 221 – Post Net, Hout Bay 7872,
South Africa; <sasealion@wam.co.za>.]

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