Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Wandering seal visits southern Newfoundland town, seems keen to stay

Seals have been turning up on the roads and other places they don't belong in Roddickton Seals have been turning up on the roads and other places they don't belong in Roddickton
Patty Aguilar | 11 January, 2019, 19:56

Fitzgerald fears the seals are too confused to find their way out of town.

"I don't see that there's any way that these seals are going to survive unless officers pick them up and literally bring them back to the edge of the ice".

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

The BBC reported that the animals became stuck in Roddickton-Bide Arm after the town's bay and surrounding water froze over.

"We're seeing them more lethargic, they're not moving as fast", she told the Northern Pen newspaper.

Posting on Facebook, the force said: "The RCMP and DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) remind the general public that it is illegal to disturb marine mammals and although animals of the wild may appear to be friendly in nature, it is very unsafe to approach or attempt to capture animals without proper equipment".

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The Roddickton-Bide Arm town council raised the issue at a regular municipal meeting Tuesday night, and resolved to ask the Department of Fisheries and Ocean to intervene. "It's really disheartening for people to watch these animals suffer".

"There's not enough food in that little water supply", she said.

The seals in Roddickton appear to be older animals, Stenson said. Fitzgerald said a plane from St. John's will fly over the area to assess the situation beyond the town once weather permits.

Police believe the seal deaths are not criminal and likely due to their having been struck by a auto. Some of the seals have been removed according to DFO, and they say they will continue to do so where possible, while ensuring the safety of residents, the officers and the animals.

This year, he says, limited ocean ice might be forcing the seals to settle for coastal ice, which increases their risk of stranding. "This is hard for the little seals, because nobody wants to see animals hurt - but it's also hard for the town". "However, a seal is a wild animal that should not be approached or touched".

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