Rescuers Form A Human Chain To Save Stranded Dolphins From Canal

human chain stranded dolphins

A group of four dolphins stranded for days in a St. Petersburg, Florida canal found help when fourteen volunteer rescuers formed a human chain and got them to safety.

The dolphins—two mothers, a calf, and a juvenile—had been trapped in the canal since Sunday. A video captured the rescuers, who are with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, forming a chain to assist the dolphins. You can see the rescuers splashing in order to create sounds and vibrations that would direct the dolphins out of the canal and into the bay.

Because dolphins use echolocation to navigate, experts think that the height and sound of a nearby bridge made the dolphins think they could not breach such a barrier or caused them to be wary of the structure.

FWC officials noticed the dolphins on Sunday but waited to see if they would swim out with the tide or become distressed. After a day passed, the dolphins had still not escaped the bay. FWC then decided to come up with a plan to herd the dolphins back to sea.

“We take time to plan; we think about it a little bit. We give them time to leave, give them a few tide cycles and see if whatever is keeping them in there if they decided to leave. They didn’t do that,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission biologist Andy Garret.

“Yesterday was a recon day. We had a boat that tested the depths. We had a boat that went all the way to the bay to test (that), yes there aren’t going to be any obstacles,” Garret added.
The successful rescue took about 45 minutes, and the dolphins swam out into Tampa Bay without any problems.
“They didn’t stop, they didn’t look back, they didn’t even hesitate for a second,” said National Wildlife Federation representative Jessica Bibza.
“Once they were through, they were headed for home.”

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Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi