Drifting pack ice traps dolphins

February 19, 2009 5:48:38 AM PST
The mayor of an eastern Canadian village says he's asked the federal Fisheries Department to send an icebreaker into the community's harbor to create a path to the ocean for five stranded dolphins.

Mayor Winston May says the exhausted dolphins have been trapped behind drifting pack ice for several days and now need rapid rescue.

The 8-foot animals somehow became separated from the open Atlantic and have been swimming for four days in a shrinking open-water area of Seal Cove's harbor, just 100 feet from shore.

Wayne Ledwell, an expert on whale rescues, said dolphins won't swim long distances under ice since they need to surface regularly to breathe.

Ledwell says that if the ice continues to encroach on the open area the dolphins could eventually drown.

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