Animal Rescue

Tending to a stranded turtle

An important function of uShaka Sea World is the rehabilitation of marine animals found stranded along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

These stranded animals are cared for by dedicated staff in our specially designed rehabilitation centre. Once healthy, most of the animals are returned to the sea or, if this is not possible, they are given a home at uShaka Sea World.

Please contact uShaka Sea World on +27(0)31 328 8222 if you come across a marine animal or penguin that you believe is in distress.



Stranded seals should be left alone

After rehabilitation, healthy animals are released back into the ocean

Sub-antarctic and South African fur seals periodically wash up on our beaches, sometimes hundreds of kilometres from the nearest colony. Sub-antarctic seals are usually exhausted when they reach our shores and need time to rest peacefully before returning to the sea.

If seals are injured, they are given immediate treatment based on fluid replacement along with antibiotic and vitamin administration. It can take anything from one to four months before a seal is strong enough to be released. If you find a seal on the beach please do not attempt to feed or touch the seal.


Penguin rescue also forms part of uShaka Sea World's work

African penguins

African penguins periodically appear on KwaZulu-Natal beaches. These birds are brought to uShaka Sea World for their own safety. If they are injured or sick, we administer the appropriate treatment.

Some simply need a little space and privacy to complete their moult. If you find a penguin, please do not handle it. Call us and we will advise you on the best course of action.



One of our scientists releases a rehabilitated turtle

Cruise ship crews often assist with animal releases far out to sea


Turtles are often victims of pollution at sea. They can become entangled in nets, fishing line or may swallow plastic bags. As slow-moving creatures, some are injured by the propellers of boats. If possible, stranded turtles are treated and nursed back to health by uShaka Sea World staff. Once they have fully recovered, the turtles are released offshore, sometimes with the assistance of cruise ships, so that they can return to their wandering lifestyle.



Dolphins and whales

There are many theories as to why dolphins and whales beach themselves. Stress to a dolphin or whale can be fatal, so it is important to call uShaka Sea World immediately should you come across a stranding.

Dolphins and whales breathe through a blowhole situated on top of their heads, so keep the blowhole clear and do not pour anything down it. Report such strandings immediately to uShaka Sea World.


Cleaning and caring for animals affected by oil spills requires teamwork

Environmental distasters

uShaka Sea World also actively assists in the aftermath of environmental disasters such as the Treasure oil spill in June 2000.

After the spill almost 500 penguin chicks were cared for and hand-raised by uShaka Sea World staff and volunteers. The chicks arrived in Durban from the Cape by plane and ranged in age from one to four weeks.

Feeding 500 rapidly growing, hungry birds was a major undertaking. The assistance of the local community who gave time, expertise and financial support, was critical to the success of this project. Many volunteers helped to ensure a continuous supply of food, medication, cleaning materials and medical supplies.

The birds were returned to their colonies and many have since produced chicks of their own, thereby securing a future for this endangered species.