Two crabeater seals, which washed up independently of each other coincidently on the same day, have been released south of the continental shelf in deep water by a team from Bayworld in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
One seal washed up along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline and the other along the Eastern Cape coastline earlier this year.
The seals were treated at Ushaka Marine World in Durban and at Bayworld in Port Elizabeth, respectively.
The seal from Ushaka Marine World was flown to Port Elizabeth so they could both be released together. They hail from Antarctica, some 6 000 kilometres off course.
Each seal has been rehabilitated and been given a clean bill of health ahead of the long journey ahead, with pollution cited as one of the challenges they face.
They have been fitted with satellite tracking so their progress can be monitored:
About the seals
Despite their obvious-sounding name, crabeater seals do not actually eat crabs.
They primarily eat krill.
When winter sets in, the seals migrate to the warmer waters in northern Antarctica.
Occasionally they lose their sense of direction, which would account for them landing on our shores.