Sunday, July 16, 2006

Dolphins stranded in river

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff have been trying to herd the bottlenose dolphins out of the Oruaiti River in the Far North and back out to sea in the Mangonui Harbour.

The dolphins were not initially believed to be in distress after swimming into the river on Wednesday but one stranded yesterday morning and died, prompting DOC to take action.
"So far, three attempts to herd the pod back out to sea have been unsuccessful, as the dolphins are refusing to go beyond the point where the dolphin stranded and died," a DOC statement said.
DOC biodiversity manager for Kaitaia Patrick Whaley said they would continue trying to herd the dolphins back into the harbour.

"We will keep working while there is still light to try and move them out to sea.

"The dolphins are well able to swim up the river, even on low tide, as the water is quite deep, so we hope that even if we are unsuccessful, they will head out of the river by themselves."

Killer whales had been reported in Mangonui Harbour and DOC staff suspected the dolphins had headed up river for safety.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"