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Elephant seal spotted in Unawatuna reappears in Colombo

A juvenile southern elephant seal was spotted this morning (6 Dec) in the waters along the Bambalapitiya-Kollupitiya stretch of Marine Drive, Colombo.

According to a wildlife conservation officer at the site, it is the same seal that was spotted some weeks ago in Unawatuna, Galle. The officer said the same seal was also spotted yesterday in Mount Lavinia.

Photo by Nazly Ahmed

According to eyewitnesses, the seal is about eight feet long.

National Aquatic Resource Research and Development Agency (NARA) senior scientist Upul Liyanage told RepublicNext the reason for the extremely rare sighting was still unclear. However, the marine mammal may have accidentally found its way to Sri Lanka due to ocean currents and wind directions prevalent in the North East monsoon, he said.

If the seal somehow doesn’t find his way back to his pod of fellow elephant seals at the end of the monsoon season, warned the scientist, it could be stranded here and then die.

Liyanage emphasised that NARA would like to kindly request the general public not to harm the animal in any way or try to touch it as it could be dangerous. He urged members of the public to leave him be on the coastline, since elephant seals prefer to live close to shore.

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