Canadian town 'inundated' with dozens of stranded seals

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 11, 2019

Residents are unable to move them because it's illegal to touch marine mammals, but a pair of seals were struck by cars on Tuesday.

Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald said Wednesday the group of about 40 harp seals is becoming hungry, exhausted and crying out, suggesting they may be too disoriented to find their way back to the ocean.

They are asking residents to contact their officer or Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477) if they see a seal on a roadway or are aware of people disturbing seals.

Sheila Fitzgerald, the mayor of the Atlantic coastal town, also expressed concern for the well-being of the harp seals.

They've been residents here now for one full week and it looks like they're not going anywhere real fast.

"They've been saying let nature take its course, but it's been nearly a week", Fitzgerald said.

The seal saga on the Northern Peninsula continues, with an estimated 40 seals remaining in and around Roddickton and fisheries officers in town trying decide on the best plan of action. "We are getting inundated with phone calls from people that are saying, 'You've gotta do something".

The local branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has reported several instances of returning seals to the sea, with one having been found near the doors of a hospital blocking an ambulance route.

It's nearly like they get going in a direction and just keep going. Every year, some harp seals are stranded in the area while migrating from the Arctic to the southern areas.

However, it's feeding season for the Harp seal, and he believes they traveled into a bay that surrounds Roddickton to feed when ice froze behind them, leaving them trapped.

The seals in Roddickton appear to be older animals, Stenson said.

"They really don't know which way to go".

The disoriented seals, Stenson said, just keep on keeping on, hoping for the best.

"It's nearly like they get going in a direction and just keep going, hoping that they're going to eventually find water that way", he said.

"Usually they find their way back fine".

Stenson said fisheries officers were there Wednesday to further examine the area around the community.

Now that the seals are there, the town and the DFO have to decide what to do about them, and whether or not they should be - or can be - moved.

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