Fisheries officers to deal with seals invading northern Newfoundland town

Police returned this seal to the sea after giving it a lift in the back of a truck. Pic Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Image Police returned this seal to the sea after giving it a lift in the back of a truck. Pic Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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

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

The town's roughly 900 residents have been joined by at least 40 of the spotted gray seals - and they didn't come to see the moose.

The seals appear to have become trapped and are unable to return to sea due to ice freezing over, according to resident Brendon Fitzpatrick. Two seals have been struck by vehicles, Fitzgerald says.

Garland said local RCMP have not received any complaints from residents about threats to public or animal safety, so the force has not intervened in removing the Roddickton seals. "People are there every day on snowmobiles stopping and looking at them, and the animals, they won't move from you".

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

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.

"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.

"For animals to be going into bays and then to be caught up by the freeze is not that common, though it's happened before", said Stenson.

The city authorities asked for help from the Canadian Government, so the Department of Fisheries and Oceans should step in and help save the seals.

"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", it added.

'There are seals on the road, there are seals in people's driveways, the backyards, the parking lots, the doorways, the businesses'. "However, a seal is a wild animal that should not be approached or touched". "This is hard for the little seals, because nobody wants to see animals hurt - but it's also hard for the town".

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