Stranded seals wreak havoc in Canada

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46818238

An image of a captured seal provided by the local policeImage copyright
Marystown RCMP

Image caption

More than 40 seals have become stranded in the town of Roddickton-Bide Arm in Newfoundland

Dozens of seals have become stranded in a Canadian town, blocking traffic and the entrances to homes and businesses.

Two of the animals in Roddickton-Bide Arm, Newfoundland, died after being struck by a car. There are concerns others will starve to death.

It is against Canadian law to interfere with marine mammals such as seals.

The creatures became stranded after nearby waters suddenly froze over last week, preventing their return to the ocean.

Experts say the speed at which the bay froze over may have disorientated the animals and caused them to move inland instead of towards open waters.

Images posted on social media show the seals stranded on roads and large banks of snow.

“It actually feels like we’re being inundated,” the town’s Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald told CBC News.

“There’s seals on the road, there’s seals in people’s driveways, the backyards, the parking lots, the doorways, the businesses.”

There are growing concerns that the animals will starve to death unless they are taken to the ocean by wildlife officials.

“They’re pitiful to look at. They haven’t eaten,” Mayor Fitzgerald said.

“They are 4 or 5 miles from the ocean and they are probably starving,” another witness wrote on Twitter.

The town’s council have asked for help from the Canadian government, and the hope is that officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will now intervene and rescue them.

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Roddickton-Bide Arm sits on a major seal migration route and people there are accustomed to seeing the creatures.

On Tuesday, the police said they had safely returned a seal to the ocean but warned against approaching them.

“[They] may appear to be friendly in nature, [but] it is very dangerous to approach or attempt to capture animals without proper equipment,” a Facebook post read.