RESCUE MISSION: Members of Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour, members of ORRCA marine rescue and members of the National Parks and Wildlife Service band together to relocate the ‘Lonely’ bottlenose at Whiting Beach.
RESCUE MISSION: Members of Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour, members of ORRCA marine rescue and members of the National Parks and Wildlife Service band together to relocate the ‘Lonely’ bottlenose at Whiting Beach. Contributed

‘Lonely’ dolphin rescued from Shallow Channel

FOLLOWING a day long rescue effort from several organisations the stranded bottlenose dolphin affectionately named 'Lonely' has been freed from Shallow Channel.

The dolphin, along with its suspected mother, was spotted in Shallow Channel, just outside of Yamba, last week by Clarence Valley residents.

The two dolphins remained in the lagoon despite rescue efforts made by members of the National Parks and Wildlife Services, Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour, sea mammal rescue organisation ORCCA and local residents last Wednesday.

The following night the older of the two dolphins freed itself leaving the young bottlenose alone in the lagoon.

After allowing several days for the young bottlenose dolphin, named 'Lonely', to self-relocate members from the organisations stepped in on Sunday to free the stranded calf.

The authorities utilised a dolphin sling to lift the bottlenose out of the lagoon, onto the bed of a truck before driving it to Whiting Beach for relocation.

Dolphin Marine Magic veterinarian Dr Duan March said the dolphin was released at Whiting Beach back into the main channel of the Clarence River.

"We had extensive discussions with experts including Dolphin Research Australia and we decided the most positive outcome for this calf would be to release the dolphin back into the Clarence River in the hope that it would find its mother again," he said.

"It's highly probable that this calf and its mother are both residents of the river and by releasing the dolphin back into familiar territory we are giving it the best possible chance of survival.

"The success of this rescue was only possible due to the combined co-operation of Dolphin Marine Magic, the National Parks and Wildlife Services, ORRCA and the Yamba locals to have gone out of their way to assist with monitoring the dolphin and providing resources for the operation."

Local fishermen reported a single dolphin has been seen swimming in the side channel of Clarence River near the Shallow Channel lagoon each night.

Authorities believe this dolphin to be the mother of the trapped 'Lonely' and that both dolphins will find each other again quickly.



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