Seals Are Stranded in a Canadian Town, and People Wonder What to Do

Seals Are Stranded in a Canadian Town, and People Wonder What to Do

LONDON — The intruders arrived during the night with the wind and high tide. By the morning of Jan. 3, it seemed like the little Canadian town had been overrun.

Seals, dozens of them. Seals on the beach, seals on streets and driveways, seals in parks and backyards.

More than a week later, they are still there in Roddickton-Bide Arm, a remote little town on the island of Newfoundland, the mayor, Sheila Fitzgerald, said on Friday.

And it has become clear that the animals, hungry and distressed, are stranded, unable to find their way back to the sea.

There are at least 40 seals in and around Roddickton-Bide Arm, population 999, the mayor said, and possibly many more.

Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are in the town, on Newfoundland’s mountainous and sparsely populated Great Northern Peninsula, to assess the number of animals and find a strategy to help them get back to sea.

The situation is less than ideal for the people as well as the animals. The seals’ silver-gray fur makes them blend in with the color of icy roads that are dusted with sand in the winter months.

People try to avoid them, but two of the seals have died, run over by vehicles. And wildlife experts have warned that, like dogs, the seals can get aggressive when scared, and bite.

Harp seals, millions of which live in and around the far north Atlantic and Arctic, are known for their pups, whose white coats help them blend in with snow and ice.

Ordinarily, the people of Roddickton-Bide Arms have no problem with the creatures, but now they are ready to get back to their traditional wildlife boast, that the town is the “Moose Capital of the World.”

“We’re ready for them to move on,” Ms. Fitzgerald said. “Right now the whole of the talk is about seals.”

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