BURIN, N.L. — Officers with the RCMP’s Marystown detachment had their hands full over the weekend.
It wasn’t with the usual sort of police work, however.
They twice had to relocate a seal which had found its way to the Burin area.
The mammal first showed up in the parking lot of the Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre on Saturday night, Jan. 5.
Officers responded and brought the seal to some nearby open water in Salt Pond, according to Cpl. Derm Roul, who told The Southern Gazette he was briefed on the matter when he arrived for work Sunday morning.
Roul said shortly after 8 a.m. on Sunday the RCMP were contacted again with a report of a seal in the road across from the Department of Transportation and Works depot in Burin. They responded again, but this time with assistance from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
“It didn’t look to be injured,” Roul said. “There were some small abrasions on the seal, which is believed to have happened probably while it was in the ocean, because they looked kind of dated, but from DFO, from them looking at it, (there was) no indication that the seal was in distress or duress or anything like that.”
Roul said the seal was safely captured in a net and this time the DFO officers transported the animal to a more isolated body of water north of Marystown. Comparing photos from the two events, Roul said it was fairly certain it was the same seal.
Seals are known to visit the Burin Peninsula from time to time but fairly infrequently.
In instances when wild animals need help, Roul cautioned it’s best for the public to leave it to the proper authorities.
“Because we don’t want to see anybody get hurt by trying to rescue an animal when we have the agencies here on the peninsula to help assist to capture something and release it to its proper environment,” he said.
As a police officer, it’s certainly not every day you’re called to assist DFO to capture marine life onshore, but Roul, a Burin Peninsula native, has had some other interesting encounters.
“I rescued a talking parrot one day in Grand Falls,” he recalled. “The only thing it couldn’t tell me was (its owners), but it said hello and goodbye when I had him aboard the police car.”