Rescue effort to save beached dolphins in Tasmania

April 13, 2010
Two women release a stranded dolphin into the sea near Australia's southern coast. Animal specialists were struggling to save 17 dolphins that became stranded on a remote beach on the Australian island of Tasmania, after 29 already perished

Animal specialists were struggling on Tuesday to save 17 dolphins that became stranded on a remote beach on the Australian island of Tasmania at the weekend, after 29 already perished.

Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service said about 12 died on Sunday afternoon and a further 17 had since perished. Rescuers were now trying to keep the survivors alive by moving them to .

Chris Arthur, a spokesman for the service, said that conditions were difficult for both dolphins and rescuers at the site at the mouth of the Pieman River on the west coast of the southern island.

"Heavy rain has made parts of the area inaccessible," he said.

"Strong westerlies are creating treacherous waters at the mouth of the river and making the likelihood of getting large numbers of dolphins back out to sea limited in the short term," Arthur said in a statement.

"However, while the animals are alive there is hope and we are continuing to plan towards getting dolphins back out into the ocean."

The dolphins had been feeding and moving up and down the Pieman River on Sunday when they got into trouble, he said.

"The people noticed that there were one or two dying and then Sunday afternoon when we came, there were 10 animals that had died and were floating on the surface near the river bank," he told ABC radio.

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