Three dolphins which had been trapped in Ballina’s Prospect Lake today were captured and released into the Richmond Rivers.
Seaworld, Australian Seabird Rescue, National Parks, police and Ballina Shire Council workers were involved in the operation, which followed a similar scenario when two dolphins became trapped in the lake last October.
The dolphins gain access to the East Ballina lake under a bridge, and it’s believed the sound of traffic crossing the bridge scares them from leaving the lake.
The dophins were a mature female, a juvenile female and a male calf.
After some unsuccessful attempts, the dolphins were netted and transported via a marine mammal rescue trailer, complete with police escort.
Ballina Shire Council decided, after last October’s incident, to install a device which would prevent dolphins entering the lake. It is likely that this latest incident will fast-track the installation of the barrier.
Adding to the urgency of this latest rescue was that saline levels in the lake were tested at five parts per thousand after recent heavy rainfalls.
Dolphins can tolerate a minimum of 15 parts per thousand and experts felt they could only have survived in the lake for about 7-10 days.
Rescuers said the dolphins were in good condition when released.