Stranded seals swarm Canadian town, block roads and buildings

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

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

An RCMP spokesperson said it appears two of the animals were struck by a vehicle on Tuesday night.

Garry Stenson, lead scientist for the department's marine mammals section, said officials were in Roddickton on Wednesday to count the animals and assess the conditions before coming up with a new plan.

The BBC reported that the animals became stuck in Roddickton-Bide Arm after the town's bay and surrounding water froze over.

To date, the seals haven't been able to find their way back.

According to CBC the seals had come to the area as early as October but over recent weeks they have started migrating towards the town, moving into its roads, endangering themselves and residents.

Because the mammals are not used to swimming under solid ice, Stenson said the seals most likely traveled inland and are now hanging out around the town.

"In the beginning, they were kind of aggressive", Sheila Fitzgerald, the mayor of Roddickton-Bide Am, told NPR.

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They've been residents here now for one full week and it looks like they're not going anywhere real fast.

"Any seals seen in town - in the backyards, on the road, by businesses' entrance - will get captured and brought to the edge of ice, which is 10km (about 6 miles) from here. I mean, they haven't eaten".

One local resident, Brendan Fitzpatrick, who usually tweets pictures about hunting and of scenes around the town, has begun calls on social media for Canada's federal Fisheries Department to intervene.

Seals on the town's roads are a particular concern, she said, after two were found dead yesterday.

"There's not enough food in that little water supply", she added.

While people have become accustomed to seeing the seals while out and about, police have warned locals not to approach them - even if they think they are trying to help.

"The RCMP and DFO remind the general public that it is illegal to disturb marine mammals and although animals of the wild may appear to be friendly in nature, it is very risky to approach or attempt to capture animals without proper equipment", a police statement on Facebook read.

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