A handful of wayward dolphins are safely back where they belong thanks to a team of rescuers who weren’t afraid to get wet.
On Sunday, wildlife officials became aware of four dolphins in a canal in St. Petersburg, Florida. The animals—two mothers and their calves—appeared frightened of swimming back under the bridge to reach the open waters of Tampa Bay. Too much time spent in brackish water is unhealthy for dolphins, so when they were still in the canal on Tuesday, officials knew it was time to act.
Thanks to a coordinated effort between Clearwater Marine Aquarium, NOAA, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 14 marine experts formed a “human chain” to create a visual barrier to gently encourage the dolphins under the bridges. Moving slowly and splashing their hands in the water, eventually the plan worked.
"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,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Andy Garrett explained to Bay News 9. “They didn't do that.”
State wildlife officials added that it’s not unheard of for dolphins to make their way into canals, but it is pretty rare.
Good work, y’all!