Yamba dolphins rescued
By ADRIAN MILLER
TWO adult dolphins were cared for at Yamba's Main Beach overnight after they were found stranded on Pippi Beach earlier in the day.
An attempt to release them back into the ocean last night failed, so a team of volunteers and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) officers were forced to look after them during the night. They were due to be released at 6am today.
The two Risso's dolphins were found beached at 9am by swimmers, who contacted the NPWS.
While they waited for NPWS officers to arrive, the swimmers nursed the dolphins by keeping them wet and secure.
NPWS Clarence North area manager John Kennedy said officers arrived at noon, at which point a veterinarian was called to determine the health of the dolphins.
"The vet's assessment was good but we couldn't release them because the surf was too rough, so we transferred them to the salt water pool at Main Beach," he said.
Mr Kennedy said the animals were taken to the pool in the early afternoon and monitored until sunset before the decision was made to keep them overnight.
"The animals had to be stabilised for as long as they had been stranded for," he said.
"They were taken from the beach about 2pm so we had to give them as much time to recover as possible before we tried the release.
"We had them under constant assessment but they weren't showing enough positive signs for us to put them back in the surf.
"If we put them back in the fading light and things didn't go well they might wash up on the beach again and we wouldn't know about it."
Mr Kennedy said a release would be attempted around 6am.
"The Yamba Surf Life Saving Club will assist us in the morning to get them out past the surf zone so we can let them go," he said.
"We will use a sling and dolphin-carry mats to support the animals and we will take them about one kilometre off-shore.
"Once both of them are together hopefully they'll swim away."
Mr Kennedy said he was very grateful to the Yamba SLSC and all volunteers who had assisted in the rescue.