Monday, 21 January, 2019

Interlopers stuck in Canadian town as exit sealed off

A seal is shown on a road in Roddickton N.L. in a handout A seal is shown on a road in Roddickton N.L. in a handout
Deanna Wagner | 11 January, 2019, 19:56

Fitzgerald said a few seals are usually spotted near town every year, but she's never seen such a large group in such distress.

Fitzgerald says it's not uncommon to see a handful of the whiskered mammals in her town, which is perched on an inlet at the edge of the frigid North Atlantic.

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

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.

Roddickton-Bide Arm, on the island of Newfoundland, calls itself the "Moose Capital of the World".

"They're getting a little bit more lazy now, a little more exhausted and lethargic", Fitzgerald says.

Canadian law states that it is illegal for the public to interfere with marine mammals.

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Two have been accidentally struck by cars at night, and several townsfolk have expressed concerns to local media that the chubby, big-eyed beasts may soon starve without access to food. Fitzgerald said a plane from St. John's will fly over the area to assess the situation beyond the town once weather permits.

However, Stenson said that harp seals are accustomed to going for stretches without feeding, and at this time of year should have built up their energy reserves in preparation for breeding.

Harp seals travel south in winter months from the Canadian Arctic and Greenland to waters off the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Garry Stenson of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans told The Northern Pen.

Jolene Garland said police believe it was the same seal because of similarities in photos taken on both days it was reported.

Although harp seals are generally not aggressive, they will defend themselves if humans get too close. In yet another incident of freakish animal invasion, dozens of seals have descended upon the roads and the driveways of the town, creating an unfamiliar experience for the residents.

"It's hard for motorists, and nobody wants to see these little seals hit in our community".