Scientists say stranded dolphins at risk of death

The director of Brigantine's Marine Mammal Stranding Center says dolphins stuck in the Naveskink River are in danger.

Fifteen dolphins have been stranded in the choppy waters of the Naveskink and Shrewsbury rivers for months. The dolphins, which originally traveled together in a pod, have since broken into smaller groups and scattered.

The center wants to use electronic sound devices to lure the animals out to sea. The group needs permission from the Fishery Service to proceed, however, and says the agency has not been responsive.

"They won't return our calls," says Bob Schoelkopf, center director. "They won't give us a straight answer about the plans. I don't want this to be 1993 again, when four dolphins died because they waited until December to give us the go ahead. It was too cold and too late."

The temperature of the Naveskink River is still in the upper 60s. Scientists say the time to worry is when water temperatures drop to 52 degrees, when the animals are known to become distressed and are in danger of freezing.

The fishery maintains the dolphins are happy and healthy. The agency believes the animals will eventually follow their instincts and get back to the ocean to find food.

For more on the wayward dolphins, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

Warnings posted as wayward dolphins change riversEnforcement increased near river dolphins Fourth of July fears mount for wayward dolphinsWayward dolphins continue frolic in Shrewsbury River

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