Seals coming to shore soon for birthing

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Grey seals are expected to come to shore soon in Pictou County.

Andrew Reid from the Marine Animal Response Society said seals take to land at all times of the year, but they come ashore this time of year to give birth and feed.

“There definitely are colonies of seals.”

He said many go to Sable Island, but there are pockets of higher concentrations around the coast.

In a news release, Fisheries and Oceans Canada advises the public to stay away from the seals.

They said although seals look like pets, it should be remembered that they are wild animals and should be left alone.

“These seals, if cornered or believe that they are being threatened, may respond by attacking. Their bites can be serious, requiring medical attention such as antibiotics and stitches.”

They also said this is the time where pregnant seals pull themselves out of the waters of Atlantic Canada to give birth to pups and after about three weeks the females abandon their pups which remain on shore for another two to three weeks to shed their white coat for a spotted grey one. Once they shed and have depleted their reserves of fat, the grey seals enter the waters and start to feed.

“Feeding brings many seals to the shores of Nova Scotia where they rest for periods as long as 48 hours. So, it is quite normal to see a young seal resting on the shore, which inevitably brings them in contact with humans.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans reminds the public that under the Marine Mammals Regulations, it is illegal to disturb seals.

“This includes the presence of unleashed pets near seal herds.”

If there is reason to believe that a seal is injured or suffering, people are asking to contact their local DFO office and to not help the animal themselves.

Organizations: Marine Animal Response Society, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Sable Island, Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia

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  • Bridget Curran
    April 04, 2014 - 12:07

    No, if you see a seal that needs assistance, contact Hope for Wildlife. DFO will do absolutely NOTHING to help seals. Their favourite mantra is "let nature take its course" which means just leaving the animal to suffer until it dies. Trust me, DFO will not help an injured seal. Call Hope for Wildlife, they WILL help.