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Human chain guides four trapped dolphins out of St. Petersburg canal

Officials say they think the animals were scared of swimming under the bridge.
The rescuers set out guiding the dolphins back to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. [Clearwater Marine Aquarium]

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and Clearwater Marine Aquarium formed a human chain Tuesday to guide four dolphins out of a St. Petersburg canal and back into Tampa Bay.

A video from the aquarium captured it all. The chain of rescuers splash the water in front of them and move toward the dolphins, just feet away.

Over the weekend, the shoal of two mothers and their calves swam into the canal at 4th Street North and 77th Avenue from Tampa Bay. But going back, they may have been wary of swimming under the bridge, biologists with FWC and CMA said, and found themselves stuck.

The first report about the trapped dolphins came in around noon on Sunday.

A rescue team made up of marine experts said they took a few days to plan a way to move along the canal. They finally executed it two days later, on Tuesday, and the plan worked.

“Using a human chain to create a visual barrier, the dolphins were able to overcome the canal bridges, which were believed to be perceived as obstacles,” Clearwater Marine Aquarium said in a statement.

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