A small town in Canada has been invaded by dozens of seals that traveled inland and are now stranded, blocking roads in the community.
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Roddickton-Bide Arm, a town of 999 people, has been swarmed by anywhere from 12 to 50 seals, Cpl. Mark Walsh of the Roddickton Royal Canadian Mounted Police told ABC News.
Seals at mouth of the brook in Roddickton. Wonder where’s DFO. Those seals been there for a few weeks. They are 4 or 5 miles from the ocean and they are probably starving. pic.twitter.com/A9RuA6Njln— Brendon FitzPatrick (@BrendonFitzPat3) January 4, 2019
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.
However, it’s feeding season for the Harp seal, and he believes they traveled into a bay that surrounds Roddickton to feed when ice froze behind them, leaving them trapped.
Few out for a crawl today pic.twitter.com/Qbb5pazTmD— Brendon FitzPatrick (@BrendonFitzPat3) January 6, 2019
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.
“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. “What makes this particularly different is that it is happening in a town.”
One on its way to the gas station pic.twitter.com/rurN3Ghhyu— Brendon FitzPatrick (@BrendonFitzPat3) January 5, 2019
Canadian law states that it is illegal for the public to interfere with marine mammals. Fishery officers have begun catching and releasing the seals into open water, according to a statement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
While Stenson does not believe the seals will face any serious health issues from being stranded in the town, two seals have already been found dead. Walsh said those seals were believed to have been hit by a car.
Seal on the road in Roddickton. I guess someone should call DFO and report that the people are killing them, then you’ll see how quick they’ll show up pic.twitter.com/rD4Hnx6WvU— Brendon FitzPatrick (@BrendonFitzPat3) January 4, 2019