Four dolphins can thank Facebook, Twitter and some muddy volunteers for helping save their lives after they became stranded in a shallow bay on Vancouver Island.

The Pacific white-sided dolphins were first spotted feeding in Oyster Bay, just south of Campbell River, at around 5:30 a.m. PT Tuesday by a man who was cutting his lawn.

When the animals became stranded by the receding tide around 7 a.m., the man called the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for help.

But before officials arrived, word of the dolphins' plight had spread quickly on local radio, Facebook and Twitter.

Oyster River, British Columbia

About 50 to 60 volunteers were soon tramping into the muddy bay to use buckets to keep the dolphins wet and tarps to carry them one by one back into the ocean.


Pacific white-sided dolphins are an extremely active species that often approach boats to ride in the bow waves. The females can weigh up to 150 kilograms and the males can weigh up to 200 kilograms. (Captain Budd Christman/U.S. NOAA)

Two of the dolphins immediately swam off, but two others cruised along the shoreline. Some volunteers also remained to make sure they did not re-enter the bay.