The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is investigating the death of a colony of approximately 50 seals near Beach Point.
It appears the seals, including adults and pups, were slaughtered.
The dead seals were discovered Sunday by students at the Atlantic Veterinary College who were working in the area. The seals were observed a day earlier and people who saw them on the beach noticed nothing unusual.
Krista Petersen, a spokeswoman with DFO in Moncton, said the federal department isn’t releasing any information yet.
“The investigation is ongoing and because of that we can’t share any other information,’’ Petersen told The Guardian Wednesday afternoon. “We are working with AVC.’’
The Guardian did contact the AVC on Wednesday to request an interview with Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust, wildlife pathologist at the college, but was told he wouldn’t be available until Friday.
Daoust will be performing necropsies today at the AVC on some of the seal carcasses found on Murray Beach.
Daoust did appear on CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon at lunchtime on Wednesday, telling listeners it’s “highly unacceptable’’ if the seals were slaughtered.
“Killing 30 to 50 seals and leaving them to decompose on site is totally unacceptable,’’ Daoust said. “It’s a complete waste.’’
An AVC spokesperson said earlier this week the seals were found frozen on the beach Sunday and there was little AVC officials or officers from DFO could do except to retrieve carcasses.
No real examination, including checking for a preliminary cause of death, could be done because they were frozen, the spokesperson said.
“It gives a bad name to the community, to the Island and to the whole Maritime region,’’ Daoust said.
When asked about the possibility the seals were slaughtered as part of some kind of protest, Daoust said “it’s not the right way to show one’s frustration.”
“This gives ammunition to the animal rights groups who have been opposing the seal (cull) issue for many years.’’
Once the necropsies and further lab tests are done, Daoust will submit the results to DFO managers and officers.
An AVC staffer who was at the scene said the colony included seals and seal pups.
“They were found perfectly alive and healthy (Saturday) and were found slaughtered this (Sunday) morning.’’
The staffer said it is believed DFO officers arrived and euthanized some pups, which were wounded and still left alive.
DFO officers were on the scene Sunday and Monday.