Canadian town 'inundated' with dozens of stranded seals

Police returned this seal to the sea after giving it a lift in the back of a truck. Pic Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The incident comes on the heels of another ongoing case of seals descending on a Newfoundland town, raising the complicated question of who should be responsible for safely removing the flippered guests.

"They've been saying let nature take its course, but it's been nearly a week", she said.

They are asking residents to contact their officer or Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477) if they see a seal on a roadway or are aware of people disturbing seals.

Brendon Fitzpatrick, the mayor of nearby Conche, has been documenting the stuck seals on Twitter.

Police in Roddickton-Bide Arm, Newfoundland, have confirmed that at least two of the 40 or so animals to have become cut off have died - many likely hit by cars.

"We're seeing them more lethargic, they're not moving as fast", she told the Northern Pen newspaper. "It's really disheartening for people to watch these animals suffer".

Harp seals migrate south in groups at this time of year, Garry Stenson, head of the Department of Fisheries and Resources' marine mammals section, told The St. John's Morning Show.

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The disoriented seals, Stenson said, just keep on keeping on, hoping for the best.

Fitzgerald says the group of about 40 seals are becoming hungry, exhausted and are crying out.

The city authorities asked for help from the Canadian Government, so the Department of Fisheries and Oceans should step in and help save the seals.

"This has gone on long enough", Fitzgerald said, opining that if a whale had been stranded, federal officials in Canada might have reacted more quickly.

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

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

Residents have expressed concern the seals may be hurt by curious onlookers or by wandering into roads, but people are in a bind because it is against the law to touch or move the animals. "This is hard for the little seals, because nobody wants to see animals hurt - but it's also hard for the town".

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