A seal explores a Cape Elizabeth neighborhood during a storm on Monday morning. Contributed / Cape Elizabeth Police Department

Mainers are usually wise when it comes to a snowstorm: stay off the roads and let the plow drivers do their work. But one flipper-footed Mainer took advantage of the empty roads early Monday to tour Cape Elizabeth.

Around 1:30 a.m., the Cape Elizabeth Police Department received a call from a plow driver in the Oakhurst Road neighborhood. There was a seal, the driver reported, making its way down the road.

Sgt. Jeffrey Gaudette, working the night shift, responded to the call.

“When I heard the call, I figured it was a dog or anything else due to the distance from the ocean,” Gaudette wrote in an email to The Forecaster. “Sure enough, it was a seal pup in the snow bank. I have never seen a seal pup that far inland before, and obviously was concerned for its safety due to the low visibility.”

After speaking with a marine wildlife organization, he was instructed to take the seal to the beach as no one from the organization was available to respond to the scene – it was the middle of the night during a snowstorm, after all.

He and Sgt. Rory Benjamin got the seal into a large plastic bin and took it to Fort Williams Beach, he said.


The seal was released unharmed, he said, but apparently it wasn’t done with its adventure.

At about 7 a.m., shortly after hearing from Gaudette about his dealings with the seal, Detective Ben Davis got a call. The seal had been sighted on Shore Road.

“We’ve had them on the beach before, but never traveling,” Davis told The Forecaster.

Davis and the resident who called the police were able to recapture the seal, get it into a crate and released it again at Fort Williams.

But the seal still hadn’t had enough. Approximately an hour after its second release into the ocean, it was found wandering around Fort Williams Park. An officer and several civilians captured it once again and released it back into the ocean.

“The Maine Marine Mammal lifeline people came out and they grabbed it, and they’re assessing it,” Davis said.


Lynda Doughty, executive director of Marine Mammals of Maine. told the Portland Press Herald that the seal weighs about 35 pounds. (An adult can weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds.) Gray seals are born between December and February, and the mothers leave their pups after just three weeks of lactation. Some, like the wandering seal, have trouble adjusting during this weaning period.

“They’re in the ocean on their own for the first time and trying to learn how to eat on their own,” Doughty told the Press Herald. “It’s not surprising to find these young animals that come up on the roadways or parking lots.”

The seal is “on the thinner side, alert, bright and active.” It will remain at the Marine Mammals of Maine rehabilitation facility in Brunswick for a while to ensure its nutritional needs are being met.

The Portland Press Herald contributed to this report.  

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