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Seal rescued from golf course driving range in Stephenville

As DFO fishery officers: Richard Dollimount, left; and Cody Brennan approach a seal near the driving range at Harmon Seaside Links in Stephenville, it arches its head back and begins to bawl.
As DFO fishery officers: Richard Dollimount, left; and Cody Brennan approach a seal near the driving range at Harmon Seaside Links in Stephenville, it arches its head back and begins to bawl.

As an avid golfer, Ian Stokes was a little surprised to see a seal swimming around in a newly made pond at Harmon Seaside Link’s driving range in Stephenville this morning.

The pond was created from the rain and melting snow this week in sunken areas along the driving range and golf course. Somehow the young seal made its way from St. George’s Bay or the Port Harmon area.

The golf course property is separated from St. George’s Bay by a beach and a road and if the seal came into the pond at Port Harmon it would have had to come a nice ways across the course to get to the location it was found.

However, the seal seemed quite at home swimming around in the freshwater when Stokes spotted it at about 8:30 a.m. Friday. He nicknamed the seal “Harmie” in honour of being on the Harmon Seaside Links property.

During the morning he phoned the Town of Stephenville about the seal and staff in turn notified the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), who had two officers attend the area and pick up the animal.

When the officers, Cody Brennan and Richard Dollimount approached the seal, it quickly reared its head back and bawled at them. At one point during the rescue while the officers were getting the carrying net over the seal, it tried for a bite at one of Dollimount’s leg.

“There’s not wrong with this one, it’s very feisty,” he said.

After wrapping the seal in the carrying net and placing it in the back of their pickup truck, the officers later set it back into salt water at Little Port Harmon in Stephenville on a slipway at the location, noting it would be a lot easier than an area where heavy waves were rolling in.

Stokes was pleased with the effort and said he was concerned not only about the seal but in the event that people might get too close to it if it was left there on the golf course property.

The pond was created from the rain and melting snow this week in sunken areas along the driving range and golf course. Somehow the young seal made its way from St. George’s Bay or the Port Harmon area.

The golf course property is separated from St. George’s Bay by a beach and a road and if the seal came into the pond at Port Harmon it would have had to come a nice ways across the course to get to the location it was found.

However, the seal seemed quite at home swimming around in the freshwater when Stokes spotted it at about 8:30 a.m. Friday. He nicknamed the seal “Harmie” in honour of being on the Harmon Seaside Links property.

During the morning he phoned the Town of Stephenville about the seal and staff in turn notified the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), who had two officers attend the area and pick up the animal.

When the officers, Cody Brennan and Richard Dollimount approached the seal, it quickly reared its head back and bawled at them. At one point during the rescue while the officers were getting the carrying net over the seal, it tried for a bite at one of Dollimount’s leg.

“There’s not wrong with this one, it’s very feisty,” he said.

After wrapping the seal in the carrying net and placing it in the back of their pickup truck, the officers later set it back into salt water at Little Port Harmon in Stephenville on a slipway at the location, noting it would be a lot easier than an area where heavy waves were rolling in.

Stokes was pleased with the effort and said he was concerned not only about the seal but in the event that people might get too close to it if it was left there on the golf course property.

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