Wandering young seals rescued in Prince Edward Island

Wayward seals rescued

For the second time in a week, police in Prince Edward Island were called to the scene of a wandering seal, and animal specialists say it may not be the last.

RCMP Sgt. Craig Eveleigh said officers picked up a seal Tuesday, which managed to cross a highway and waddle deep into a farmer's field near Fairview, about 20 kilometres south of Charlottetown.

Officers used a snowmobile to track the animal as a drone kept watch from overhead, Eveleigh said. When they found the seal, it was zipped into a hockey bag and an official from the federal Fisheries Department took it back out to the water.

On Sunday, Charlottetown Police had returned a seal to the water after it was found roaming through a residential neighbourhood. Eveleigh said both animals were young grey seals, no more than six weeks old.

"It's a little weird," he said when asked about the frequency of seal rescues. He said there may be more seals wandering the Island because there's little ice this year on the Northumberland Strait, which separates Prince Edward Island from the mainland in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Danielle Pinder of the Marine Animal Response Society agreed that a lack of ice explains the behaviour.

Seals spend a lot of time on the ice, she said: it's where they rest, moult and have their pups. Without any ice this year, they're doing it on land, "which means we're encountering them more on our beaches around the Maritimes," she said.

Pinder said her organization is fielding far more calls about stray seals than it usually does at this time of year, and the calls are coming from all over the region.

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