NORTHPORT, N.S. – Allie Halliday doesn’t consider herself a seal whisperer, but she was part of an effort Saturday at Coldspring Head that saw an injured seal rescued by a volunteer with the Hope Wildlife Centre.
“It was amazing, it’s almost as if he was understanding everything I was saying to him,” said Halliday. “
The young seal had been seen numerous times in the area since late July when residents noticed it would approach them when swimming and would climb on top of a makeshift raft located just offshore.
“At first, he looked healthy, but the last few days when we went to the raft he’d jump up and we noticed he was bleeding and had a lot of cuts. He looked like he was hurting by the way he was holding his flipper and there was a lot of bleeding,” she said. “Something was obviously wrong, so we decided we’d call Hope for Wildlife.”
Halliday said Tasha Turner called Fisheries and Oceans but was told to let nature take its course. Instead, she reached out to Hope for Wildlife via the group’s website.
For some reason, Coldie – as the residents came to call the seal – seemed attached to Halliday and would often come when she was on the raft. On Saturday, she went out to the raft and she quickly saw the seal’s head bobbing in the water.
“I just kept talking to him and eventually he came up on the raft and laid down beside me,” she said. “We were there for a while before the guy from Hope for Wildlife came.”
The first attempt to grab hold of the seal failed and she was afraid they’d lost their chance until he came back a few minutes later and jumped back up on the raft. It was then, using tuna as bait, were able to coax the seal into a large bin so it could be taken to the Hope for Wildlife facility in Seaforth.
Turner said she was surprised when the seal first jumped on the raft next to me.
“I loved sitting with us on the raft and he liked hanging out, but he didn’t want you to touch him,” Turner said. “He was such a lovable little guy.”
She’s not sure how the seal was injured, but thinks it may have been ‘bullied’ by other seals. She was afraid Coldie would become food. She thinks it kept coming to them because it was calling out for help.
“He always responded to Allie’s voice,” Turner said. “When she would talk to him he’d just roll back his eyes and turn over. He soaked it all in.”
Turner said the beach won’t be the same without Coldie.
“I got a little choked up walking down to the beach because I wondered if I was doing the right thing,” she said. “I’m sad he’s gone, but after seeing him in the condition he was I’m relieved because it was obvious that he really needed some help.”
Hope for Wildlife provided a tracking number so they can keep tabs on his progress.
A charitable wildlife rehabilitation and education organization, Hope for Wildlife has rescued, rehabilitated and released more than 40,000 injured and orphaned wild animals representing more than 250 species.
On its website, Hope for Wildlife says it aims to connect people to wildlife in a positive way through knowledge and understanding.
A representative for Hope for Wildlife could not be reached on Monday.