Canadian town asks for help regarding unusual seal situation

Blanche Robertson
January 11, 2019

Sheila Fitzgerald, the mayor of the Atlantic coastal town, also expressed concern for the well-being of the harp seals. According to experts, the speed at which the bay froze may have disoriented the seals and made them move in the opposite direction of the waters.

Brendon Fitzpatrick, the mayor of nearby Conche, has been documenting the stuck seals on Twitter.

Police believe the seal deaths are not criminal and likely due to their having been struck by a vehicle.

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.

A group of 40 of the animals travelling together is not unusual, Stenson said - he's seen groups with as few as six seals and as many as a thousand.

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

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"People chase them. People are there every day on snowmobiles stopping and looking at them, and the animals, they won't move from you", he said in an interview Monday.

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

She says that for the time being, the animals have been surviving on fish they catch in the town's streams.

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. Fitzgerald said a plane from St. John's will fly over the area to assess the situation beyond the town once weather permits.

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

Although harp seals are generally not aggressive, they will defend themselves if humans get too close. This has led to no small amount of chaos in the town of some 1,000 inhabitants on the island province of Newfoundland where the animals have blocked roads, as well as the doors to many homes and businesses. "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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