I first spotted him coming down the harbour channel in August 1999, in rolling flipper over flipper swim patterns, that has now become a distinctive sign of a seal very weak. Without any encouragement whatsoever, this pathetic, of a once amazing robust and healthy living seal - hauled his broken and tired body abroad our raft tied alongside our boat, and lay down to die.
I feed, nurtured and encouraged him to live - and after many, many months - he did. Once a skeleton of skin and bones, hence his name - 'Bones' blossomed into a thoroughbred of a bull seal, shining pitch black in colour - eyes full of life once again. After a time during his rehabilitation he moved permanently off the raft, and took upon station alongside, doing repeated head over hind flipper circles, constantly - in the dirty polluted harbour water. Each time his head swung around, he would try and attract my attention and make eye to eye contact - through the slime, oil and surface muck. I was initially very concerned with this unusual swim pattern - as I was afraid he might drive himself completely mad.
After some months, 'Bones' simply vanished into the deep blue yonder. My second only seal rescued had disappeared for good.
The following August 'Bones' was back - and how I distinguished him from all the others of hundreds of seals since rescued, was his repeated head over flipper turns desperate to attract my attention once again. 'Bones' would stay a few weeks, which involved at least twice a day making sure "we connected" before heading out the harbour in his daily routine.
No matter where I moved within the harbour, and I have been forced to re-locate to several different locations around the harbour - 'Bones' would somehow find me each mid-August.
Stay for a few short weeks and then disappear. Where or how far I will never know, but what I did know somewhere deep in the back of 'Bones' mind he would always be thinking of me - somewhere out there.
It is now the eighth year since 'Bones' rescue - and sure enough, on my way to feed 'Mumkin' this morning I spotted this seal, alongside a jetty I seldom use - doing those distinctive head over flipper turns - and once again for the 8th year in a row we connected as two species should.
With the average lifespan of a seal in the wild of just thirteen years, 'Bones' must be getting quite old. He is one of over five thousand reasons why I have never left this 'Seal Hating' fishing harbour even for a day.
I will always wonder when 'Bones' will ever stop saying thanks - and I hope he never does.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
Tuesday 15th August.
The Namibian High Commission in London was taken by surprise, when, at 11.45am, protestors began to arrive in protest of the violent and brutal slaughter of nursing Cape Fur Seal pups and adult males in Namibia. In all, some 32 people protested loudly and passionately against this sickening atrocity, which included the use of a megaphone and drum. This was a very special protest, as it included a visual centrepiece of 6 protestors, symbolically �stripped and bleeding� for all to see. With the banner behind them: "Namibia Seal Pup Genocide", the reason for this protest was very clear.
A megaphone carried the message very loud and clear, and led protesters in a chant: "Namibia, Namibia, you can�t hide; stop the seal pup genocide." Those in the High Commission were constantly reminded about their government�s support of this senseless slaughter, and the impact this may have on their much-needed tourism trade. Hundreds of leaflets were given to members of the public, the vast majority of whom were supportive of the protest.
A local businessman decided to voice his opposition to the protest by swearing at protesters. However, he was warned by the police.
The police had been notified about the protest. However, after 45 minutes, we were told to stop using the megaphone; stop using any amplified sound and to stop chanting, as a complaint had apparently been made by a local resident (section 42 of the Criminal Justice & Police Act 2001, for those who want to know). No other restrictions were placed on the protest and it continued for another hour, with protesters continuing to use their voices (including an impromptu and revised rendition of: �all things bright and beautiful�!).
Save The Seals (UK) will continue to highlight this atrocity and do whatever it can to support Seal Alert South Africa, and others, who want to see an end to the Cape Fur Seal slaughter in Namibia.
Once again, a big �Thank you� to all those who continue to support these protests.
Millions of you worldwide seal supporters have given millions, if not billions, of your hard earned monies, since the early 70s to end the Seal Hunt(s) Worldwide. Ask yourself one simply question - has it? Will it ever or is there just too much money to be made in campaigning to stop these hunts - but not enough to end it.
Right now !, simply take $ 1 - fold it in a piece of white paper, and post it to
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
and, forward this appeal to all in your address book and urge 10 friends to do the same. (dollars, pounds, rands its all the same to me)
If one single seal whose life was saved eight years ago - can remember and come back year after year after year - just to say thanks for saving his life. We owe it to them all - to save all their lives. Do this one simply thing - and I guarantee I will not only end and stop the African Seal Hunt, but I will with your sufficient support. Return them to their natural habitat and ensure that they as a species has a chance under the African sun.
Just so there is no misunderstanding. You are not donating this $1 - You are hiring me to get the job done - and therefore expect no excuses.
As soon as I am finished here in Africa - I will move onto Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia - and end all these Seal Hunts!
From me you will get no excuses, no PR's writing my letters or secretaries answering my phone, no well funded organization and fancy office building or regular glassy brochures - just 100% commitment, passion and compassion 24-7-365.
If you want the Seal World to be a better place - now is your chance.
If still unsure - simply Google Francois Hugo Seals.
For the Seals, together we can end it.
The rest is now in your hands.
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA