Stray dolphins to be rescued from Tamshui river today
By Chiu Yu-tzu (Staff writer)
5th March 2004
Three stray rough-toothed dolphins that have been living in the Tamshui River for three weeks will be captured today and trucked to the ocean, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.
About 40 boats, along with several divers, will participate in the rescue effort. The dolphins will be directed by the boats and divers toward the bank of the river, where, according to the plan, they will be stranded and placed in trucks.
Medical care for the dolphins will be available at Ocean World in Yehliu, Taipei County. Some river traffic will be suspended today.
The three dolphins were first noticed in a section of the river near Guandu Bridge on Feb. 11, not far from where the river meets the sea. In the last three weeks they have swum 10km further upstream. Yesterday they reached Chunghsiao Bridge.
When the dolphins were first discovered, the government decided to leave them undisturbed, but closely monitor their activities. On Wednesday, officials decided that the animals' long stay in fresh water might have a negative impact on their health.
Officials said that fresh water had jeopardized the dolphins' health, with two of them already suffering from tilted dorsal fins. The depth of the river upstream is less than 3m, which is a harmful environment for dolphins.
"Based on our observations, the three dolphins will be unable to find their way out on their own," said Tai Chen-yao, deputy minister of the council.
The rescue needs to be carried out collaboratively in order to minimize the risks, Tai said.
Yesterday, the council worked to integrate resources from government agencies, the Taiwan Cetacean Society and Ocean World in order to undertake the rescue.