Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Seal makes two journeys onto dry land in View Royal

View Royal firefighters took the seal back to the sea.
web1_stranded-seal-jan2022
A seal has been exploring View Royal. via View Royal Fire Department. January 2022

A wayward seal rescued from View Royal’s Centennial Park this week had a second foray into the neighbourhood Thursday, making itself at home on a Chancellor Avenue driveway.

“He was there all day and when the night fell he just stayed,” said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.

Just as they had the first time, View Royal firefighters responded, got the seal on a tarp and carried it to an arm of Portage Inlet — which, Hurst said, was a three-person job.

“He’s a big seal,” Hurst said. “He was out of the tarp and back into the water and gone.

“He was pretty excited once we got him back to the water.”

Hurst said he is at a loss as to why the seal has been coming ashore.

“He’s heading down paved roads, it’s bizarre behaviour,” he said. “He likes the concrete, the blacktop, he’s all over the place.”

The seal’s adventures began early Wednesday when Craigflower Elementary vice-principal Karen Higginbotham was walking to school and heard sounds coming from the park.

“It was still very dark and I heard animal noises,” she said.

At first, Higginbotham thought it was an injured goose, since they tend to congregate at the park.

She said the noise was “clearly unhappy.”

“It was in distress or scared or hurt, so I walked over there and turned on my flashlight on my phone — and there was a seal on the ground,” Higginbotham said. “I thought: ‘What do I do now?’ ”

The seal was behind home plate.

It was too early in the day to call any animal-related agencies, so she decided to contact View Royal Fire Department, which performed a rescue in short order.

“He managed to make it a long ways inland, he was about 500 metres in,” Hurst said. “We laid the tarp out and just sort of pulled it toward the front of him and he hopped on board.”

Higginbotham wasn’t able to see it happen.

“I had to be at school pretty quickly, I had an 8 o’clock meeting.”

The kindergarten and Grade 1 children she teaches were intrigued by the story and will be expressing their gratitude to the firefighters for what they did.

“We’re going to be writing a thank-you letter with our names and pictures and sending it off to them,” Higginbotham said.

jbell@timescolonist.com