A gruesome discovery

Sherry Martell
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Island covered with seal pup carcasses

FOX HARBOUR - A recent storm surge prevented officials from investigating the death of several seal pups on a secluded island in Wallace Bay.

FOX HARBOUR - A recent storm surge prevented officials from investigating the death of several seal pups on a secluded island in Wallace Bay.

Fox Harbour resident William Butler discovered a gruesome site last weekend while walking his dog on Oak Island.

I have nothing against the sealing per se, but I thought it was quite cruel to let the animals starve to death.

To starve to death while the seagulls are picking your eyes out is awful.

Butler said the island is littered with dozens of seal pup carcasses that he believes died of starvation after hunters killed their mothers or scared them away.

He feels a seal hunt should not be conducted while pups are still nursing their mothers.

Krista Petersen, spokeswoman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said a grey seal hunt, with a quota of 2,100, was held in early March in northern Nova Scotia, north east New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

In areas of the Gulf region there were about 50 licences issued and the people that were hunting seals at that time with licences were well within their rights, said Petersen. We know there were at least a couple people that were harvesting on Oak Island.

Harvesting pups still covered in a white coat of fur is prohibited.

Petersen said the hunt is held in March to give mother seals time to birth and wean their young.

Mike Hammill, a marine biologist with the DFO, said he visited the island in early February and counted about 800 live pups and more than 20 dead.

It happens a lot, said Hammill.

In some of the colonies 20 per cent of the pups will have been abandoned by females.

Knowing this species, quite often these pups are abandoned.

Seal pups are nursed about 16 days before their mothers leave and head back to open water.

He said the pup carcasses Butler encountered probably did starve to death but it was not likely caused by hunters culling their mothers.

Petersen said when weather conditions permit officials will visit the island to investigate the pups cause of death.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: FOX HARBOUR, Oak Island, Wallace Bay Northern Nova Scotia New Brunswick Prince Edward Island

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments