Large Dolphin Pod Dies After Becoming Trapped in Sea Ice
Canadian fisheries officials say about 40 white-beaked dolphins died after becoming trapped in jagged pack ice off the coast of Newfoundland.
The marine mammals struggled for days to stay alive in shallow water with no easy way to escape from ice that was hugging the shores of Cape Ray.
Footage taken by a resident and posted online shows the water tinted red with blood as the dolphins tried to get free.
White-beaked dolphins, which can weigh up to 660 pounds, are typically among the first marine mammals to arrive in the waters around Newfoundland as spring approaches, according to Wayne Ledwell of the region’s nonprofit group Whale Release and Strandings.
He says his records show more than 400 whales, dolphins and porpoises have been reported trapped in the ice around Newfoundland since the 1970s.
“Situations when marine animals become trapped in ice are very unfortunate, but do occur in the marine ecosystem (especially when ice conditions are extreme),” Larry Vaters of the Fishers and Oceans Department told reporters in an e-mail.
A fisheries expert said the unique geography and currents in the area form a natural trap for marine animals when there is heavy ice.