Canadian town 'inundated' with dozens of stranded seals

Elias Hubbard
January 11, 2019

Police believe the seal deaths are not criminal and likely due to their having been struck by a auto. Most of the sightings appear to have been around bodies of water, but police could become engaged if they receive a report of the seals causing legitimate danger.

While the rescue plays out, the seals are still put at risk by what turns out to be dangerously effective urban camouflage: Their coats blend right in with the snow and sanded roads.

"This has gone on long enough", Fitzgerald said, opining that if a whale had been stranded, federal officials in Canada might have reacted more quickly. "We are getting inundated with phone calls from people that are saying, 'You've gotta do something. The seals are in my driveway, ' or 'The seals, I see them suffering"'.

"It's not a matter of the seals doing it on their own. If they could, they would have", Fitzgerald said. "It's also a matter that the town can't take care of it".

It is illegal in Canada to interfere with marine mammals.

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.

Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie says DFO must do something about the overabundance of seals in the region.

Yet the sight of seals crawling down the streets of the Great Northern Peninsula town is most unusual and has left some locals concerned.

Police say the animal crossed highways, moved through traffic and posed a "public safety issue" on Saturday before being spotted outside the Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre, where it blocked an ambulance route.

"It's hard for motorists, and nobody wants to see these little seals hit in our community".

The province's seal harvest is highly regulated, requiring a licence and specific tools for humanely harvesting the animals. The vast majority of the seals that are killed are between one and three months old.

However, Stenson said that harp seals are accustomed to going for stretches without feeding, and at this time of year should have built up their energy reserves in preparation for breeding.

A wandering seal that parked itself in front of a southern Newfoundland hospital entrance over the weekend has been returned to the water - twice.

- By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John's, N.L.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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