It’s not uncommon to come across wild animals while in Alaska, even when you’re hanging at the airport, but when this 450-pound bearded seal wandered onto the runway to sunbathe, no one was prepared.
The seal was passing the time at the Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Utqiagvik when the Alaska Department of Transportation humorously warned the pilots of the airport’s low “sealings.”
Utqiagvik underwent a series of storms on Monday and the seal was discovered by staff clearing the runways.
“Wildlife strikes to aircraft pose a significant safety hazard and cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Birds make up over 90 percent of strikes in the U.S., while mammal strikes are rare,” said Bailey.
Eventually, the seal was removed from the runway with the help of the North Slope Animal Control and one sturdy sled. Plans to manage the amount of wandering wildlife are in the works.
As for this runway lounger, he just needed a bit of sun before the departments sealed the deal.