The footage from the scene is truly creepy!
Several unprovoked attacks on people have been reported in Cape Town. In one case, an animal pursued and mauled a boy who was playing in shallow water.
Another attack was reported by a woman on another beach on the Cape Peninsula, where animals chased her and then attacked her.
Another man said that after the attack, he was left with bite marks when the seal tried to drag him into deep water.
A series of incidents has prompted baffled scientists to investigate the cause of the attacks by animals that normally show no interest in humans. Seals are generally not aggressive unless provoked.
Reports of attacks have increased in Cape Town following a mass die-off along the coast. According to the Times, this was due to domoic acid (“zombie acid”).
It is a natural neurotoxin produced by algae and accumulates in small fish and squid. When small animals are eaten by larger predators, the toxin can be transferred.
Scientists noted that the algae usually bloom for only a few weeks. However, they say, warmer waters as a result of climate change and pollution have caused the poisonous blooms to get bigger and last longer.
“It’s not aggressive behavior… it’s defensive behavior. There was a massive death last year that was linked to domoic acid poisoning due to algal blooms,” he said.
“Seals eat fish and crustaceans, which have algae poisoning, one of the symptoms is cerebral edema.
Domoic acid survivors suffer neurological damage, and we suspect that this is what is causing us to see an increase in attacks around Cape Town.”
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