Seal removed from airport runway in northern Alaska
Seal removed from airport runway in northern Alaska This Oct. 23, 2017, photo provided by Scott Babcock shows a seal that wound up on the runway at the airport in Utiqiagvik, Alaska. (Scott Babcock via AP/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr)
Seal removed from airport runway in northern Alaska
Lexile: 1020L

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In Alaska, it's not uncommon for wildlife like polar bears to wander onto an airport's runway. But a lounging seal is far more unusual.

But that's what workers found at the airport in the nation's northernmost city. A seal was removed from the runway at the airport at Utqiagvik (pronounced (oot-GHAR'-vik) by way of sled, KTVA reported. It was estimated to weigh 450 pounds.

A photo and video of the bearded seal was shared by Scott Babcock on Facebook. It was lounging on the runway in the town formerly known as Barrow.

The state Department of Transportation got in on the fun by warning pilots of "low sealings" at the airport.

Meadow Bailey, the department's communications director, said Utqiagvik experienced heavy storms. Utqiagvik is an Arctic Ocean coastal community on Alaska's North Slope. Staff found the seal while clearing the runway.

The department's staff members are not allowed to handle marine mammals, so the seal was removed by North Slope Animal Control.

The workers have seen birds, caribou, polar bears and musk ox on the runway. But the seal sighting was a first, Bailey said.

"Wildlife strikes to aircraft pose a significant safety hazard and cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year," Bailey said. "Birds make up over 90 percent of strikes in the US, while mammal strikes are rare."

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What might have caused the seal to find its way onto the airport runway?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • ZofiaT-del
    11/13/2017 - 04:13 p.m.

    The main idea for this article is how a seal was pulled off a Alaskan airport. The Wildlife in the area is a threat to both peoples and their safety. I personally think that this was a sad article that animals will die because of human interaction and stuff.

  • JadeR-del
    11/13/2017 - 04:19 p.m.

    The seal might have found its way onto that airport runway because there might have been a storm and it didn't know where it was going. The seal might have been swept up and slid on the ice and ended up on the airport runway.

  • ChloeT-del
    11/13/2017 - 04:19 p.m.

    The main idea of this article is about a seal in north Alaska being taken away from an airport runway. Many areas are dangerous and harmful to animals. I think this article keeps people aware of these animals being harmed and warn people that they are not the only ones living in their areas.

  • GabriellaJ-del
    11/13/2017 - 04:20 p.m.

    the seal might have found its way onto the runway due to the fact that there could have been a source of water near by.

  • WilliamF-del
    11/13/2017 - 04:27 p.m.

    Wow, I can't believe there was a seal just lounging around a plane landing site. I'm kind of surprise that a plane didn't run over the seal. It must have seen planes landing there and it still went there. It's kind of weird that a seal would just be there. Mammals are supposed to have big brains and they are supposed to be smart. It's a little weird.

  • AkshayB-del
    11/13/2017 - 04:48 p.m.

    The main idea of this article is that the people who work on the airport notice that there was a bearded seal laying on the runway. It talks about how they never seen a seal on the runway. My thoughts on this article is that this article was nothing important to know about while the authors should have made an article that is more interesting and important.

  • JaredI-del
    11/13/2017 - 05:07 p.m.

    the airport is probably near the water. Also it could be that their home is near

  • PedroM-del1
    11/13/2017 - 05:17 p.m.

    The seal might have seen a cozy spot on the runway or it saw a bird or bird with a fish and decided to eat it. Maybe both of those beautiful.

  • PedroM-del1
    11/13/2017 - 05:20 p.m.

    Now I don't know how some random seal just walk up on a runway but that seal was probably as Mrs.Caracappa says,"Special". Maybe the seal thought to itself, I'm gonna get hit by a plane today! Yeah! no that seal is very dumb. Or maybe God threw a seal on the runway. No one knows.

  • EsmeraldaV-del
    11/13/2017 - 05:24 p.m.

    The seal found its way onto the airport runway. This is probably the first seal sighting on a runway! In the article it says, "The workers have seen birds, caribou, polar bears, and musk ox on the runway. But the seal sighting was a first, Bailey said." Its very interesting to know a seal randomly appeared, which is extremely unlikely.

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