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N.B. rescue crews to try again Wednesday to herd stranded dolphins to open ocean

Stranded dolphins are shown near Lameque, N.B. in a handout photo. Animal rescue crews will try again Wednesday to herd six stranded dolphins out of a shallow waterway in northern New Brunswick, and back into open ocean. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Roger Lanteigne MANDATORY CREDIT
October 04, 2016 - 12:38 PM

LAMEQUE, N.B. - Animal rescue crews will try again Wednesday to herd six stranded dolphins out of a shallow waterway in northern New Brunswick, and back into open ocean.

It will be a week since seven dolphins became stranded near Lameque, with one dying two days later.

Andrew Reid of the Marine Animal Response Society said the six remaining Atlantic white-sided dolphins appear to be healthy.

"They don't appear malnourished, so it does indicate that we do have some time to respond and get them to open ocean," he said.

However, he said time and food supply are becoming issues.

"There is a risk these animals could become dependent on people feeding them. At this time we definitely don't want to offer any encouragement for them to want to stay in that area. At this point it is still better not to feed them," Reid said.

To escape, the dolphins would have to swim through an area that's only about a metre deep at high tide, and dolphins don't like shallow water.

Reid said they were hoping to use aquatic pingers — being sent from Massachusetts — to scare the dolphins through the passage.

The devices are normally used by fishermen to scare away dolphins from gill nets.

"Unfortunately they were initially turned back from the border and sent back to the Cape Cod Stranding Network. They are sending them again but that is going to delay things."

In the meantime, Reid said his group and Fisheries and Oceans will make another effort to herd the dolphins to open ocean.

He said it's unclear why the dolphins got themselves stranded.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins are common in Atlantic Canada. They can reach 10 feet in length and 500 pounds.

Reid said they may have to physically move the dolphins but are trying to avoid that.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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