Dolphins given space after rescue attempt

A MOTHER dolphin and her calf remained trapped in Shallow Channel, near Yamba, overnight as rescue efforts yesterday were postponed due to rising tide.

HOLIDAYING: The dolphins appear calm despite being trapped in Shallow Channel.
HOLIDAYING: The dolphins appear calm despite being trapped in Shallow Channel. Adam Hourigan

Members from the Dolphin Marine Magic park in Coffs Harbour responded to the incident to help free the dolphins and return them to the ocean, but were unable to do so.

Clarence Valley residents were also on scene to offer their assistance, including Lyn Tunbridge who had been with the dolphins from before dawn.

"I went down there to make sure everything was okay early in the morning after I had spotted them yesterday," Mr Tunbridge said.

"The dolphins appeared to be okay and were making no attempts to swim out of the channel, even at high tide.

People watch on as dolphins are stuck in shallow water at Yamba.
People watch on as dolphins are stuck in shallow water at Yamba.

"They were really relaxed. They came right up to the edge of the water to see what was happening when I was down there with my torch.

"They weren't scared or upset about their predicament."

HELPING HAND: Lyn Tunbridge checks the depth of Shallow Channel to assist rescue efforts.
HELPING HAND: Lyn Tunbridge checks the depth of Shallow Channel to assist rescue efforts. Adam Hourigan

"It is a fairly deep hole that they are swimming in," he said. "I just thought it is going to be a lot easier for me to measure it on my board than have one of the rescue crew swim out there.

"It was the least I could do to help out."

Valley resident Max Snowden was also present throughout the rescue effort and said the dolphins were not helping their rescuers' cause.

"They appeared to be in good health and their body language appeared to be rather good," he said.

"When the dolphin mob tried to herd them up with the nets the dolphins just swam under and out from the netting."

National Parks and Wildlife Services spokesman Adam Cook said the plan for the dolphins was to simply give them time.

"The dolphins are in good shape, they are not distressed and there is plenty of food to sustain them," he said.

"We are going to give them a couple of days to depart themselves. If they don't depart on their own we will pick them up and relocate them a few kilometres down the road to the nearest beach.

Mr Cook praised the Dolphin Marine Magic team on its efforts throughout the relocation attempt.

Topics:  dolphins environment wildlife

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