Canadian town 'inundated' with dozens of stranded seals

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

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.

A small town in Canada has been invaded by dozens of seals that traveled inland and are now stranded, blocking roads in the community.

Seals were trapped at Roddickton-Bide Arm on the island of Newfoundland.

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 risky to approach or attempt to capture animals without proper equipment".

The seals also bite, and Fitzgerald said she is anxious about children getting too close.

"They're pitiful to look at".

"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.

"I don't see that there's any way that these seals are going to survive unless [DFO officers] pick them up and literally bring them back to the edge of the ice".

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Now that the seals are there, the town and the DFO have to decide what to do about them, and whether or not they should be - or can be - moved.

Fisheries officers have been stationed in town and are assessing the situation and investigating their options for the stranded seals, Stenson said.

The seals' coats can blend in with the snowy roads, and drivers have reported several close calls.

"They're looking around now to try and determine exactly how many seals are there, both in that area as well as in surrounding areas, and whereabouts they are", he said.

Fitzgerald fears the seals are too confused to find their way out of town. "It could potentially impact people's health and well-being", she said. Two seals were killed after being hit by a auto.

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

This year, he says, limited ocean ice might be forcing the seals to settle for coastal ice, which increases their risk of stranding.

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