Nfld. & Labrador

Two Grand Falls-Windsor women help rescue stranded seal pup

We've all heard of a fish out of water. Well, how about a seal out of water. On Friday, that's what two women from the SPCA in Exploits Valley had to contend with.
Two women from the Exploits Valley SPCA helped rescue this stranded seal pup on Friday. (DFO NL)

We've all heard of a fish out of water. Well, how about a seal out of water. In fact, a long, long way from water.

On Friday, that's what two women from the Exploits Valley SPCA had to contend with.

Michelle Keats and Karen Smith got a call that a seal pup was flopping around in a parking lot in Grand Falls-Windsor.

I've been here 23 years and I said, Karen, we've got a lot of calls on strange animals and I say, I guess the seal tops it off- Michelle Keats

"It was a friend of mine called and said her husband heard that there was seal over by Stan Dawe's," said Keats.

She and Smith headed straight to the rescue.

When they arrived on the scene, the local chief of police had things under control and was moving onlookers back from the seal pup. He told them wildlife officials were on the way.

Dog kennel used in rescue

But Keats had her own idea. She offered to get a dog kennel to try to capture the animal.

The women went back to the shelter, grabbed a cage and came up with a plan to rescue the pup.

"When I saw the seal coming towards the cage, I just pushed the cage down into the snow a little bit and I had the door open and I kind of blocked him off from the gate part and he just slide right on in and we just got him. And then we put a blanket over him to calm him down a bit," she said.

Smith said it was a grey Harbour seal pup, about two-and-a-half to three feet long and about a year old.

Shortly after the rescue, Keats said wildlife officials arrived and took the seal.
DFO officials set the seal pup free - back into the ocean. (DFO NL)

"They did release the animal. They put the cage into the water and the seal just came out and swam off and then got up on a pan of ice, so you know, he was quite well," she said.

The women are perplexed about how the seal managed to get as far inland as Grand Falls-Windsor.They thought perhaps it somehow caught a lift aboard a truck at the harbour in Botwood.

But according to Keats, wildlife officials say seals can travel quite far. "They assume that that's how it came up, up through the trail line there and came across the road."

The women say it's all a little strange and perhaps the oddest call they've ever responded to.

"I've been here 23 years and I said, Karen, we've got a lot of calls on strange animals and I say, I guess the seal tops it off," Keats said.

The women say that's what they're there for - to protect and rescue animals - any type of animal.