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

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

Fitzgerald said the town's council has asked the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to rescue the seals.

"We've seen them in people's backyards, people's driveways, along the sides of the roads, in the doorways and entryways to local businesses, parking lots", Roddickton-Bide Arm Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald told CBC.

"They've been saying let nature take its course, but it's been nearly a week", she said. DFO has returned individual seals to open water in the past.

"It's not a matter of the seals doing it on their own". Fitzgerald said more should be done to protect the animals and return them to their habitat.

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She says that for the time being, the animals have been surviving on fish they catch in the town's streams.

But this week, that small Canadian town is on the map because of a different animal: the harp seal.

Harp seals spend most of their time in open water or on floating ice, and they usually swim away from land.

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. "We understand that it is tempting to interact with animals", cautioned the department in a statement sent to NPR.

The animals are protected by law and should not be approached.

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Recent reports from people in the area indicate that the number of seals may be lower than believed, Slaney said, closer to 20 or even fewer.

Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie says DFO must do something about the overabundance of seals in the region. 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. The vast majority of the seals that are killed are between one and three months old.

Seals have been turning up on the roads, and other places they don't belong, in Roddickton.

"It's heartbreaking to watch this", she adds. To her, it's obvious the animals are struggling and suffering.

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