Fernanda Calfat / Stringer

Bearded Seal Causes Alaskan Airport Issues

An Alaskan airport has the most Alaskan issue we could ever think of! This past Monday, a 450-pound beard seal decided to cool his jets on an airport runway. Airport foreman Scott Babcock was trying to clear snow at the Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Utqiagvik, Alaska when he noticed the misplaced creature.

Foreman told ABC news “It was very strange to see the seal. I’ve seen a lot of things on the runway, but never a seal.” Maybe he was just looking to hitch a ride!

CBS 6 Albany - WRGB on Twitter

In Alaska, a polar bear on the airport runway isn't that unusual. A 450-pound seal, however, is another story. https://t.co/4ouKyMkdDV

The bearded seal did not want to leave the runway and animal control had to be called. Since he was a hefty creature, the seal was transported with the help of a sled. Once the seal received a free sled ride, air traffic was back to normal. Yes, that’s right a 450-pound seal was the reason for delays. We could not imagine hearing that as reason!

The Telegraph on Twitter

A leisurely seal weighing 32-stone blocks a runway in Alaska https://t.co/AmXbq77ZEd

When Foreman locked eyes with the seal, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Facebook page decided to nab a photo. The caption told the story of how the creature was found and made sure to add in a few puns. At the end of the post, it read “Aircraft operators should continue to be aware of low sealings at our North Slope facilities.”

Scott Babcock

Scott Babcock added a new photo.

Animals often accidentally find themselves on a runway. Airports do they best they can to accommodate local wildlife by relocating them. Meadow Bailey told the Associated Press “Wildlife strikes to aircraft pose a significant safety hazard and cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year.” Luckily for this seal, he was not harmed in the incident. However, we are sure he was a little annoyed at the fact he did not nab a free vacation. At least we would be!


Sarah is a Hufflepuff living in NYC. When she is not traveling or talking to random animals, she is working as a script writer. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp