Members of the Dolphin Marine Magic park, National Parks and Wildlife Services and ORRCA attempt to rescue the two dolphins who were trapped in Shallow Channel.
Members of the Dolphin Marine Magic park, National Parks and Wildlife Services and ORRCA attempt to rescue the two dolphins who were trapped in Shallow Channel. Duncan Fawkes

Mother dolphin leaves Shallow Channel overnight

FOLLOWING a concerted effort yesterday by members of the Dolphin Marine Magic park staff in joint operation with the National Parks and Wildlife Services one of the dolphins trapped in Shallow Channel outside of Yamba has self-relocated out of the lagoon. 

According to eye-witnesses there is only one dolphin remaining in Shallow Channel which appears to be the young calf of the other dolphin who was also trapped yesterday. 

Clarence Valley resident Max Snowden, who spent hours yesterday helping the members of the Dolphin Marine Magic park in their rescue efforts said the remaining dolphin appears to be in good health.

"There is only one dolphin left in Shallow Channel and it looks like only the calf is there," she said. "The mum must have gotten herself out at one point through the night.

"The calf appears to be in good health, but we have been on the phone to the marine vet from [Dolphin Marine Magic park] who has asked us to keep an eye on the little fella."

Dolphin Marine Magic park released a statement this morning about the rescue efforts yesterday which said efforts were abandoned to reduce health risks to both the dolphins and rescuers with the incoming high tide.  

Dolphin Marine Magic veterinarian Dr Duan March said it was highly probable that the dolphins entered Shallow Channel through a back passage but we're unable to relocate the passage to return to the river. 

"From reports from local eye witnesses, it seems that the dolphins have been in the Shallow Channel lagoon for at least a couple of days," Dr March said. 

"The decision was made for the welfare of the dolphins to catch, relocate and release the animals on the low tide. Unfortunately the tide was already turning before the nets could be deployed into the lagoon and in the interests of safety for the dolphins and the rescuers, we decided to postpone the catch."

Dr March said "The best case scenario is that the dolphins find a way out of the lagoon themselves, either through one of the back entrances or through the culvert drain. Certainly it seemed that once the water level in the lagoon rose on the incoming tide, the larger dolphin seemed to be encouraging the smaller dolphin to swim through the drain. However at this stage at least, it was very obvious that the smaller dolphin was shying away from the drain."

Staff from Dolphin Marine Magic, the National Parks and Wildlife Services and ORRCA have now decided to give the dolphin a few more days in the hope that they will find a way out of Shallow Channel themselves before another intervention. Representatives from all three organisations are now monitoring the animals.



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