Several groups are preparing for a second attempt to free a pod of stranded dolphins back to open waters in Lemeque, New Brunswick.
Hundreds of people from northern New Brunswick have flocked to the area to get a glimpse of the Atlantic white-sided dolphins that became stranded last Wednesday. One died two days later.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans hoped the dolphins would head back to open water on their own, but so far rescue attempts have been unsuccessful.
“Hopefully we'll be able to move them back to their natural habitat tomorrow (Wednesday). That's the goal,” says fisheries officer Gabriel Albert.
An initial herding attempt last week stressed the dolphins, and they managed to evade boats to return to the basin. Since then, locals have seen their conditions improve.
“First they started to be in love with them, but it's still a shame that they’re caught there,” says fisherman Pierre Larocque. “They look better. Less nervous and less stressed. They spread out and go under the bridge and they come back.”
DFO and the Marine Animal Response Society will meet in Lemeque Tuesday tonight to discuss how the herding process will look on Wednesday.
“The route to bring them back to open waters, how we're going to proceed with the boats, who's going to be leading, what we'll do if we have a situation where a dolphin beaches itself, get ready, have boat ready with equipment,” says Albert.
The Maritime Animal Response Society says the tide is becoming a challenge when it comes to herding the dolphins. Herding would ideally be done at high tide, which only happens late at night and early morning.
Aquatic pingers were planned to be used to help direct the animals, but the equipment has yet to arrive from the United States.
The groups will make their first rescue attempt Wednesday morning. If unsuccessful, they'll try again at night.
DFO says it will only physically remove the animals as a last resort.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke.