A seal weighing around 204 kilograms was removed from the runway of the airport at Utqiagvik in Alaska. Though it’s not uncommon for wildlife like polar bears to wander onto an airport’s runway in Alaska, this was the first time a seal was lounging.
Meadow Bailey, the department’s communications director, said Utqiagvik has experienced heavy storms on Monday and the staff found the seal while clearing the runway. The seal was removed by North Slope Animal Control as the department’s staff members are not allowed to handle marine mammals.
“Wildlife strikes to aircraft pose a significant safety hazard and cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Meadow Bailey said. “Birds make up over 90 percent of strikes in the US, while mammal strikes are rare.”