Rescue mission underway for stranded dolphins
A RESCUE mission for two dolphins stranded in a tidal lagoon near Yamba is continuing.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a pair of Bottlenose Dolphins - thought to be a mother and her calf - became stranded at "Shallow Channel", west of Yamba.
The dolphins are believed to have entered the water either through a back channel to the lagoon, or a drain that runs back into the Clarence River under the Yamba entrance road causeway.
Dolphin Marine Magic staff and veterinarians were called to the scene who are working with ORRCA and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to free the animals.
Yesterday, an attempt was made to catch the dolphins and relocate them to the Yamba main beach for an ocean release.
With the assistance of many Yamba locals, DMM staff deployed a net to into the lagoon but water rushing through the culvert drain from the Clarence River due to the turning tide made the use of the nets difficult.
After one attempt to net the dolphins into shallower water failed, DMM chose to postpone the catch due to the risk of the dolphins and rescuers as the incoming flow increased.
Staff from DMM, the NSW NPWS and ORRCA have now decided to give the dolphin a few more days in the hope that they will find a way to the lagoon themselves.
"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," DMM veterinarian Dr Duan March said.
"However at this stage at least, it was very obvious that the smaller dolphin was shying away from the drain."
Reports from local eye witnesses suggest the dolphins have been in the lagoon for at least two days.
The public are asked to give the dolphins the best possible chance of leaving the lagoon on their own by staying right away from the area in the hope that the dolphins will be more likely to swim through the drain if there aren't lots of people standing around it.
If any member of the public sees a dolphin or any other marine animal that they believe may be in distress, they should contact DMM on 6659 1900, the NSW NPWS or ORRCA.