On Friday the 13th of January, a group of beachgoers, Alex and Juanita Aitkenhead, made a shocking discovery while out for their Friday evening run with their two dogs on Sunset Beach in Cape Town. The group, led by a 55-year-old MD of a signage manufacturing company, stumbled upon a female African Ant Bear, also known as an Aardvark, washed up at sea.
Upon approaching the creature, it was evident that this was no seal, as initially thought. The Aardvark was in pristine condition, with hardly a hair out of place, leading the group to believe that it had drowned just one or two hours prior. They quickly rushed back home to grab their phones and capture the moment, and with the help of some nearby surfers, they pulled the Aardvark out of the surf and above the high-water line.
The group contacted the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and requested that they retrieve the carcass for research or further study. SANCCOB quickly assisted and took the Aardvark back to Rietvlei.
The group speculates that the animal may have been a victim of illegal animal trafficking and was simply tossed overboard. They have been in the Sunset Beach area for over 25 years and have never seen anything like this before. Aardvarks are known to be elusive and reclusive creatures, and it is uncommon to see one in the wild.
In light of this discovery, the group advises that anyone who comes across an Aardvark in similar circumstances should contact a professional who deals with these types of animals to ensure that the creature is properly cared for and studied. You may also share these types of sightings on our app, whereby moderators can monitor the sightings and report these sightings to authorities. They have heard reports of Aardvarks being used to cure cancer and speculate that this Aardvark may have been trafficked for such use or sale. However, this is just an opinion at this stage, and a clearer picture may emerge from a post-mortem examination.
This tragic discovery serves as a reminder of the devastating effects of illegal animal trafficking on wildlife and the importance of protecting and preserving these unique creatures. As responsible citizens, it is our duty to raise awareness and take action to protect our wildlife and conserve our natural heritage for future generations.