Seals Overrun Town After Bay Waters Freeze, Block Them from the Ocean

A Harp seal pup lies on an ice floe March 31, 2008 in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence near Charlottetown, Canada Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than 40 seals have overrun a town in Canada after they became stuck there when a nearby waters froze over, blocking their return to the ocean.

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.

Read more: Six decapitated baby fur seals found floating in popular New Zealand bay

Two of the animals in the town of Roddickton-Bide Arm in Newfoundland have been killed after they were hit by cars.Despite further concerns that some seals may starve to death as they are cut-off from the water and a supply of food, it is against Canadian law for individuals to interfere with marine mammals like seals.

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

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.

The town's Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald said there was a growing sense the seals were everywhere. "It actually feels like we're being inundated," she told the Canadian news network.

Seal on the road in Roddickton. I guess someone should call DFO and report that the people are killing them, then you’ll see how quick they’ll show up

— Brendon FitzPatrick (@BrendonFitzPat3) January 4, 2019

"There's seals on the road, there's seals in people's driveways, the backyards, the parking lots, the doorways, the businesses," she added.

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.

"People chase them. People are there every day on snowmobiles stopping and looking at them, and the animals, they won't move from you," he said in an interview Monday.

"Nobody likes to see something in a place where they're trapped in … you gotta wonder if they're going to survive or why the Fisheries Department don't do something to take them out," he added.

The Fisheries Department has repeated its statements that it is illegal to disturb the animals, emphasizing that these rules protect humans as much as the animals.

"Seals are wild animals that can be unpredictable, and may become aggressive in order to protect themselves. In rare cases, seals carry infections that can be passed on to humans," a statement from the Canadian government department read.

"We would like to remind people that it is illegal to disturb a marine mammal and human interaction can disturb an animal's normal life processes and can result in injury or death of the animal," it added.