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Canadian town 'inundated' with stranded seals

A Canadian town has become "inundated" with stranded seals after frozen waters prevented them returning to the sea.

Dozens of the animals have been spotted around Roddickton-Bide Arm in Newfoundland, often in roads, doorways and gardens.

At least two of the seals have died - it is thought they were hit by cars - and there are concerns for the safety of the others, both due to vehicles and a lack of food.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officials have been called in to help.

Local resident Brendon FitzPatrick tweeted photos of the seals around the town, including in the road and by a petrol station.

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Sheila Fitzgerald, the town's mayor, said the colour of the harp seals made them difficult to see on roads.

"They blend with the road," she said. "Especially at night time, they just blend right in.

"You don't know until you're right on top of them. I heard several people say 'I almost struck a seal'."

Ms Fitzgerald said the seals "came in with the high tide" and they are now "trapped" because of the ice.

She said the animals appear "disoriented" and they "don't know where to go".

"No one wants to see anything happen to any animals," she said. "And to see these little seals that are stranded and helpless, the people are disheartened by everything that's happening."

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Ms Fitzgerald told CBC: "I don't see that there's any way that these seals are going to survive unless [DFO officers] pick them up and literally bring them back to the edge of the ice."

A few seals are often spotted near the town every year, but such a large group is uncommon.

Garry Stenson, from the DFO, said officers and scientists will meet "in the next few days" to decide what to do.

"When they're in a place where there's a danger, either to them or to humans, then fisheries officers have been known to move them," he told CBC.

He warned residents against approaching the seals.