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FWC frees 4 dolphins stuck in canal in St. Petersburg

Florida Fish and Wildlife crews moved the dolphins Tuesday morning back into the bay.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Four dolphins stuck in a small canal since the weekend were freed Tuesday morning.

The dolphins were stuck in the canal near 4th Street North and 77th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. 

A dozen or so people from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission created a human chain to encourage the dolphins to swim east toward Riviera Bay.

Andy Garrett, a biologist with FWC said the chain creates a physical and audio barrier so the dolphins are inclined to move away from the chain and in the direction of the bay.

The human chain moved very slowly until they reached the bridge that goes under 4th Street North. That’s when Garrett observed the dolphins got a little stressed as the human chain closed in on them.

“When we got to the bridge, they got a little bit nervous, they started doing some spins, and when they blow real hard, we call that chuffing, so that’s a little bit of stress," he said. 

After about thirty seconds, the dolphins made it under the bridge and out into Riviera Bay.

“We didn’t have to intervene with nets and things that could stress them out, potentially cause injury to them. The plan worked well," he added. 

FWC first found out about the dolphins in the canal Sunday. They monitored the animals and came up with a rescue plan. Biologists believe the sounds from the road and possibly the echo under the bridge spooked the dolphins and that’s why they couldn’t find their way out.

Dolphins are a protected marine mammal and should not be fed or swim with.

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