Officials spent much of Saturday trying to guide an errant grey seal back home after it made its way to Shubie Park in Dartmouth, N.S.
Those visiting the park — a popular spot for dog walkers — can usually expect to see birds and chipmunks, but it’s uncommon to see animals known for hanging out by the ocean.
In a release, Halifax Regional Police said they received a call from a concerned citizen around 8 a.m. to the parking lot of the off-leash area of Shubie Park, where a “large, live seal” was found.
The large male seal, estimated to be about 600 pounds, ended up making its way onto the trail. Pictures and videos posted to social media show the blubbery mammal trying to move around the forested terrain.
It’s unclear how the pinniped made its way to Shubie Park, which is located between Lake Micmac and Lake Charles.
Members of Halifax Regional Police, Halifax Fire, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Hope for Wildlife, the Marine Animal Response Society and conservation officers were at the scene Saturday as a group of onlookers watched them trying to keep the seal occupied.
Police officers had to rope off a portion of the park to keep people away from the seal, who at times appeared agitated.
A veterinarian tranquilized the seal to subdue it and it was loaded into a Marine Animal Response Society truck around 2:30 p.m.
Police say the seal was safety transported back to the ocean.
Seal previously spotted
Earlier this week, there had been reports of a seal in the upper lakes of the Shubenacadie canal system, according to DFO spokesperson Luke Gaulton.
It’s assumed to have been the same seal that turned up in Shubie Park.
He said it’s important for people to know that if they encounter a seal, they shouldn’t disturb it.
He said in addition to being a safety risk, it’s illegal to disturb a marine mammal under the Fisheries Act.
— With files from Jesse Thomas