- More than 40 seals have become stranded in a small Canadian town in Newfoundland after surrounding waters froze over.
- Two of the animals have already been killed by cars, police said.
- “It actually feels like we’re being inundated with seals,” Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald told CBC news.
- There are fears that the seals may starve if they are not returned to the ocean soon.
- Residents are being warned not to interact with the creatures, which are known to be aggressive in order to protect themselves.
- A scientist for the Canadian Fisheries Department told Canadian media that officers were in the town on Wednesday to count the seals, examine the area, and plan their return to the ocean.
A group of more than 40 seals have invaded the small Canadian town of Roddickton-Bide Arm in Newfoundland, Canada, its mayor said on Wednesday.
Two of the animals have already been killed after being struck by a vehicle on Tuesday night, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed.
According to the BBC, the waterborne mammals became stranded after nearby waters froze over and prevented their return to the sea.
Garry Stenson, lead scientist for the Canadian Fisheries Department’s marine mammals section, told CTV that the seals appear to have wandered too far from the ocean and become disoriented.
Away from their hunting grounds, the seals may also be starving.
“Seals at mouth of the brook in Roddickton. Wonder where’s DFO [Department of Fisheries and Oceans]. Those seals been there for a few weeks. They are 4 or 5 miles from the ocean and they are probably starving,” hunting and fishing guide Brendon FitzPatrick said in a tweet.
Seals at mouth of the brook in Roddickton. Wonder where’s DFO. Those seals been there for a few weeks. They are 4 or 5 miles from the ocean and they are probably starving. pic.twitter.com/A9RuA6Njln
— Brendon FitzPatrick (@BrendonFitzPat3) January 4, 2019
“It actually feels like we’re being inundated with seals, because there’s seals on the road, there’s seals in people’s driveways, the backyards, the parking lots, the doorways, the businesses,” Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald told CBC news.
“I don’t see that there’s any way that these seals are going to survive unless [DFO officers] pick them up and literally bring them back to the edge of the ice.
“They’re pitiful to look at. I mean, they haven’t eaten.”
Residents are unable to interact with or attempt to move the seals as it is illegal to disturb marine mammals in the territory. The Fisheries Department issued a statement warning town residents to steer clear of the creatures.
“Seals are wild animals that can be unpredictable, and may become aggressive in order to protect themselves,” the statement read.
“In rare cases, seals carry infections that can be passed on to humans.”
“We would like to remind people that it is illegal to disturb a marine mammal and human interaction can disturb an animal’s normal life processes and can result in injury or death of the animal.”
According to Stenson, seals getting lost on land is not uncommon for Newfoundland.
“We get this every year,” Stenson told CBC. “If it’s near a town you hear more about it, but it’s not totally uncommon for us to get this.”
Stenson said fisheries officers were in Roddickton on Wednesday to count the seals, examine the area, and plan their return to the ocean.
Earlier this week, officers in the south of Newfoundland island were forced to return a rogue seal to the ocean twice after it came back to a populated region of Burin Peninsula – even blocking off the entrance to a hospital.
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