Glace Bay residents rescue stranded seal
Published Sunday, January 13, 2019 6:42PM AST
For days, people who live around Big Glace Bay Lake watched and worried about a little seal that was stranded on the ice, not too far from a busy highway.
The seal was out there for nearly a week, prompting some Glace Bay residents to initiate a rescue.
On Sunday, Mark David, Colin Buchanan and Sasha Stubbert returned to Big Glace Bay Lake, just days after rescuing the seal from the ice.
“Our original plan was to release him and get him off the ice,” says Mark David. “But Sasha sent pictures to Hope for Wildlife, and they said he was underweight and had marks on him from different things.”
Turns out a lot of people in the area were deeply concerned about the sea mammal.
Hope for Wildlife volunteer Sasha Stubbert says when she was contacted about the stranded visitor, she knew she had to help.
“It made me feel terrible, there’s nothing worse than seeing something stranded and injured, and it has no way to help itself,” says Stubbert. “You’re not always successful in helping, but I certainly wanted to try.”
So they did, first lifting the seal onto a tarp, and then into a crate, which was pushed to shore.
Buchanan says all of this was a calculated effort, with the watchful eyes of the Glace Bay Volunteer Fire Department nearby in case something went wrong.
“He was a heavy bugger, about six-feet long and 200 pounds, so it was a bit of work,” says Colin Buchanan. “It was all hands on deck and definitely teamwork that made us succeed in making the rescue.”
The seal was then loaded into a van and transported to the Canso Causeway, where he was picked up and taken by members of Hope for Wildlife.
“As soon as he came in he went straight to the Vet,” says Hope Swinimer, Founder of Hope for Wildlife. “We did x-rays, we did a complete check, and we did a lot of research.”
Swinimer says seals are semi-aquatic and it’s normal for them to be laying on a beach for days, or even weeks at a time.
“It was a harp seal, it was the biggest patient we ever had, and they are known for how docile they can be,” explains Swinimer.
It didn’t take long for the check up to be completed, and the seal was soon released back into the wild.
“Luckily for us, we couldn’t find anything wrong with this guy, we checked for all kinds of things and were able to get this seal back out the to the wild, and he really made a dash into the ocean. It was wonderful to see,” explains Swinimer.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.