Friday, 18 January, 2019

Dozens Of Stranded Seals Flounder In Canadian Town

Many of the seals are in two brooks right in town says Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald Many of the seals are in two brooks right in town says Roddickton Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald
Melinda Barton | 11 January, 2019, 19:57

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

Because the mammals are not used to swimming under solid ice, Stenson said the seals most likely traveled inland and are now hanging out around the town.

Garry Stenson, lead scientist for the marine mammals section of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, told ABC News these seals are normally found in open sea.

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

She says that for the time being, the animals have been surviving on fish they catch in the town's streams. They bide their time on offshore ice floes as they feed and give birth.

In Roddickton's case, Stenson said it appears the seals have wandered too far from the ocean and have become disoriented.

"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.

"It's not a matter of the seals doing it on their own".

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".

On Wednesday, the DFO deployed a three-person seal response team to set up base in the town, according to the mayor.

Fitzgerald said a few seals are usually spotted near town every year but she's never seen such a large group, and the animals' condition is disturbing for residents whose hands are tied if they want to help. An aerial reconnaissance mission to determine the size of the ice and the stranded pod has also been discussed, a plan the DFO says has been hampered by bad weather.

A seal is shown on a road in Roddickton, Nfld, .in a handout photo.

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

"It's hard for motorists, and nobody wants to see these little seals hit in our community".