Canadian town asks for help regarding odd seal situation

A seal is shown on a road in Roddickton N.L. in a handout

Experts have said the rapid rate at which the waters froze could have disoriented the seals which is why they can now be observed heading inland.

One local resident, Brendan Fitzpatrick, who usually tweets pictures about hunting and of scenes around the town, has begun calls on social media for Canada's federal Fisheries Department to intervene. "People are there every day on snowmobiles stopping and looking at them, and the animals, they won't move from you".

The seals in Roddickton appear to be older animals, Stenson said. They bide their time on offshore ice floes as they feed and give birth. As NPR's Christopher Joyce has reported, sea ice in the Arctic has seen extreme melting in recent years, partly because of global warming caused by humans. But at a town council meeting Tuesday night, Roddickton-Bide Arm decided it was time to call for more help. Fitzgerald said a plane from St. John's will fly over the area to assess the situation beyond the town once weather permits.

Police in Roddickton-Bide Arm, N.L. - the community that at least 40 seals are now calling home - have confirmed that two of the mammals have died.

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But the town couldn't exactly take matters into its own hands. Two of the seals have been killed by a vehicle and the rest may starve if they are not returned to the ocean in time.

"Seals are wild animals that can be unpredictable, and may become aggressive in order to protect themselves". 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.

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".

"It's heartbreaking to watch this", she adds. "Nobody wants to see any animal suffer".

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