Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Seals Overrun Town After Bay Waters Freeze, Block Them from the Ocean

Seals Overrun Town After Bay Waters Freeze, Block Them from the Ocean

Two of the animals have died after being struck by a auto and there are concerns others will starve to death.

A Newfoundland mayor said dozens of stranded seals are causing havoc in her town, and she's calling on federal Fisheries officials to remove them.

The seals have blocked traffic and people from getting inside businesses and their homes. Stenson said both seals were stuck by cars, something Fitzgerald said happened after several days of hearing about near misses from Roddickton residents. "They haven't eaten", Mayor Fitzgerald said.

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.

Roddickton-Bide Arm is on an important sealing migration route.

Harp seals migrate south from the Arctic starting in December, Stenson explained.

The seals appear to have become trapped and are unable to return to sea due to ice freezing over, according to resident Brendon Fitzpatrick.

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She says that the seals are common enough in the town that residents likely to encounter one when they leave for a walk or a drive.

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

"It's nearly like they get going in a direction and just keep going, hoping that they're going to eventually find water that way", he said. And their local food sources are limited, making it imperative they find their way back to the ocean.

Stenson said fisheries officers were there Wednesday to further examine the area around the community. 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 wandering seal that parked itself in front of a southern Newfoundland hospital entrance over the weekend has been returned to the water - twice.

Although harp seals are generally not aggressive, they will defend themselves if humans get too close.

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