The Department of Conservation has rescued three Hector’s dolphins which stranded themselves on a beach within the Christchurch Estuary.
DOC received a call about the stranding at 11.15am this morning and arrived at the estuary half an hour later to find the three dolphins being tended to by half a dozen members of the public keeping them wet.
DOC ranger Anita Spencer says it appears the dolphins became stranded in a pool close to shore as the tide went out.
“The dolphins appeared to be in good heath accept for some minor cuts and abrasions caused by thrashing around on the sand,” Ms Spencer said.
“Sightings in the estuary are extremely rare. I can’t remember ever hearing of one.”
The endangered dolphins usually make their home in Akaroa Harbour on the other side of Banks Peninsula.
With the high tide not due for several hours, DOC staff put the dolphins on the back of a truck before transporting them across the dunes at South Shore.
All three were then placed in the water, supported by DOC staff, before being walked into deeper water as a group.
They were then successfully released at 12.30pm this afternoon.