Cornered dolphins still in need of rescue from Heart's Delight harbour

Officials from DFO stationed in Heart's Delight continue to hope that winds will shift and allow a pack of dolphins to escape.

Pod of 7 dolphins have been trapped by ice for the past five days

Wayne Ledwell, with the Newfoundland Whale Release and Strandings group, says he's prepared to help move the dolphins if they end up on shore. (CBC)

Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans stationed in Heart's Delight are still hoping the winds will shift and allow a pack of dolphins to escape the town's harbour before its too late.

Seven dolphins are currently trapped in the frigid waters, blocked in near the shore by heavy ice.

They've been in the area since at least Sunday, and DFO officer Mike Oates says the best bet for the dolphins now is the wind pushing the ice out of the harbour. 

The fins of three porpoise are visible above the water in Heart's Delight. (Submitted by Geraldine Legge)

 A Canadian Coast Guard ship is in the area, but a rescue has been deemed too dangerous. That's because the harbour is quite shallow.

"Right now we're waiting for the weather to cooperate and hopefully drive the ice outside of the harbour and then hopefully they can swim freely into Trinity Bay," he said. 

"If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate and we see something, like they unfortunately strand themselves on the beach, we'll look at relocating them ourselves to another area."

Dolphins may need to be moved by stretcher

Wayne Ledwell, who works with Newfoundland's Whale Release and Strandings group, is closely monitoring the situation. 

He says that the dolphins, as of now, are still in good shape.

"They're still alive, they look healthy, they haven't been scrubbed up by the ice, there's no blood on them," said Ledwell.

An onlooker observes two dolphins in Heart's Delight harbour.

But being enclosed to this small section of the harbour has likely had an effect on their morale. 

"I'd say they're in stress. They want to be out in the open ocean." 

Ledwell says that he'll be involved in relocating the dolphins if the ice shifts encloses on the dolphins further and forces them to go up on shore.

He says officials will attempt to "carry them and put them in the back of a pickup truck and bring them down into either Islington which is just a couple miles up this way, or down to Hearts Desire, which is a good open slip in open water."

With files from Anthony Germain