While it’s not uncommon for wildlife to wander onto airport runways every now and then, one animal in Utqiagvik, Alaska, surprised an airport worker who thought he’d seen everything.
Scott Babcock, a foreman at the Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport, said he saw a large bearded seal sprawled on the airfield on Monday.
“It was very strange to see the seal. I’ve seen a lot of things on runways, but never a seal,” Babcock told ABC News.
He said he expected the animal to perhaps be “a small spotted seal, not a 450-pound Oogruk.”
Babcock said that airport staff are “not allowed to handle or haze marine mammals,” so he took a video of the massive sea mammal while he waited for wildlife control to arrive and safely help it on its way.
North Slope Borough Animal Control came out to the airport and moved the seal using a heavy-duty snow blower and a sled.
Babcock said that at small, rural airports like Wiley Post-Will Rogers, staff “wear every hat” and take care of tasks from security to snow removal, which was what he was doing when he spotted the seal.