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

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


COMMENTS (74)
  • NatalieH-del
    11/13/2017 - 05:32 p.m.

    It's a rare sight for us New Yorkers to come in contact with wildlife, especially when a seal is just resting on an airport runway. But, in Alaska, this is common. The workers at the airport have casual run-ins with animals such as caribou, and polar bears. They've never seen a seal there before until now.

  • JuliaA -del
    11/13/2017 - 05:44 p.m.

    The main idea of this article is what might've caused the seal to find its way onto the airport runaway. I definitely think its crazy. At the same time, the airport runaway takes place in Alaska, where all the cold is and their animals.

  • PriscillaD-del
    11/13/2017 - 06:18 p.m.

    The main idea is that a seal was appeared at airport runway. This took place in Alaska, and the seal was just lounging on the runway. I thought this was so random because workers have seen birds, caribou, polar bears and musk ox on the runway. But a seal sighting was the first.

  • SarahT-del
    11/13/2017 - 06:24 p.m.

    That's so sad how this seal was left on the runway!I hope the seal isn't damaged or hurt. Due to Utqiagvik expecting bad storms i guess the seal wanted to be rescued by the storm.

  • SaraM-del
    11/13/2017 - 06:26 p.m.

    Many types of animals have been spotted/found on an airplane runway. One of these animals was a seal. It was lounging for it. I found this article interesting, yet funny.

  • ChloeR-del
    11/13/2017 - 06:27 p.m.

    The runway is next to the Arctic Ocean. The seal might have been looking for food in the area. There might have been less food for this poor seal because of Global Warming.

  • MarianaG-del
    11/13/2017 - 06:28 p.m.

    This was very interesting and surprising. I never thought thid would happen.

  • EmilyN-del1
    11/13/2017 - 06:29 p.m.

    It is very cool that a seal was found at an airport. This is very uncommon and the airport staff were shocked. Seals are on of my favorite animal so I am glad they didn't get run over.

  • SamanthaM-del1
    11/13/2017 - 06:37 p.m.

    It is common to see animals when you go to the airport, however, it is highly uncommon to see a seal. which is what they saw in an Utqiagvik airport. It claims to be because of large storms.

  • EthanG-del1
    11/13/2017 - 06:58 p.m.

    Maybe the Seal was running away from a polar bear

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