TWO bottlenose dolphins stranded in a Mandurah lake have been rescued and released into the lower reaches of the Serpentine River by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
The adult male dolphins became stuck in Black Lake on Sunday after swimming up the river from the Peel Inlet, possibly chasing fish.
Parks and Wildlife marine park coordinator Melissa Evans said marine rangers enlisted the help of the Mandurah Over 55s Canoe Club to carry out the three-hour rescue operation on Tuesday.
“Both dolphins were healthy, but a bit tired after several days of being in the lake, which had become too shallow for them to navigate back to deeper water,” Ms Evans said.
“The kayakers helped herd the dolphins into the shallowest section of the lake and with a 30m net, Parks and Wildlife marine rangers were able to grab hold of one of the animals and get it into a sling.
“It took 10 people to lift the 300kg-plus dolphin into the trailer we had attached to our ute.”
Ms Evans said the second animal proved trickier to corral.
“Dolphins are very smart animals; they learn straight away, so the second one was much harder to herd,” she said.
“This dolphin avoided the net and broke free when the marine rangers initially tried to grab hold, but we eventually were able to get it into a sling.
“In the meantime, we slowly drove the first dolphin in the trailer about 10km towards the coast to a boat ramp on the Serpentine River and released it back into the water.”
The rescue of the second dolphin attracted a small crowd of local residents, who accompanied the Parks and Wildlife vehicles to the release point.
“When we backed the trailer into the water and got the dolphin free of the sling there was plenty of cheering and clapping,” Ms Evans said.
“Neither of the dolphins has been sighted in the area since the release so we are delighted the operation was so successful.”