Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Seals Forced Onto Nova Scotia Beaches - Forbes.com

Several islands off Nova Scotia are being inundated by thousands of pregnant seals forced to give birth on shore by unusually mild weather that has prevented the Gulf of St. Lawrence from freezing.

About 3,000 gray seals are hunkered down on Pictou Island, a narrow, six-mile long island in the Northumberland Strait that is home to only about 15 people year-round.

Scientists with the federal Fisheries Department say the mammals have moved to at least two other islands in the area.

The warm weather has persisted across the Maritimes for months, reflecting a trend that has left a string of broken weather records across the country.

"From time to time we see seals coming onshore to give birth, but the ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are extremely unusual this year," Fisheries Department spokesman Leroy MacEachern said Tuesday from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. "There's been no cold weather and no ice formed in the gulf."

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