Fisheries officers to deal with seals invading northern Newfoundland town
12 January, 2019, 19:37
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.
As the days have dragged on and the fish in the town's brooks have become less plentiful, the seals have become more lethargic, Fitzgerald added.
The seals' coats can blend in with the snowy roads, and drivers have reported several close calls.
The disoriented seals, Stenson said, just keep on keeping on, hoping for the best.
"It wouldn't be a surprise to me if the Roddickton detachment were to get a call, for example say, if there was a herd of seals blocking the roadway", Garland said. "If they could find their way out, they would have found their way already".
Roddickton town council is formally requesting that the Fisheries Department return the animals to the ocean at the edge of the frozen inlet that has trapped them in the first place.
"It's not a matter of the seals doing it on their own".
But along with the eventual plan for the seals, the total number of animals in and around Roddickton is still unclear, said Lloyd Slaney, DFO's director of conservation and protection in N.L. Every year, some harp seals are stranded in the area while migrating from the Arctic to the southern areas.
But for many residents, the experience is also heartbreaking, she said.
"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. "It could potentially impact people's health and well-being", she said.
"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.
Fitzgerald says that two seals have died this week, in what she believes is a traffic accident.
But this week, that small Canadian town is on the map because of a different animal: the harp seal.
While people have become accustomed to seeing the seals while out and about, police have warned locals not to approach them - even if they think they are trying to help.
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