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Dolphins cut off from seaby drifting ice

FIVE exhausted dolphins have been trapped behind drifting pack ice for several days and now need rapid rescue, the mayor of an easternCanadian village said yesterday.

The 2.5-meter-long animals somehow became separated from the open Atlantic and have been swimming in circles for four days in a shrinking area of Seal Cove's harbor, just 30 meters from shore, said Mayor Winston May.

"They keep going round in circles, trying to keep this little pool of water open so that they can have their breathing area. And the whole bay seems to be froze up, there's no where else for them to go," May said.

Wayne Ledwell, who operates the Whale Release and Strandings Group, an organization that specializes in rescuing whales and dolphins, said dolphins won't swim long distances under ice since they need to surface regularly to breathe and the slabs of ice would make that impossible.

He said if the ice continues to encroach on the open area, the dolphins may suffocate.

May said he asked the Canadian Fisheries Department to send an icebreaker into the harbor to create a channel to the open Atlantic.

"They're not going to survive much longer," May said. "You can hear (the dolphins) crying all night long."

Officials with the Fisheries Department could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The dolphins are regular visitors to Newfoundland's Seal Cove.


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