On Tuesday, rescuers in with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and Clearwater Marine Aquarium created a human chain to transport trapped dolphins from the St. Petersburg canal back to Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
In total, four dolphins were trapped — two adults and two calves, CNN reported. There was concern over the safety of the dolphins due to the low salinity of the water.
Biologists from both organizations told Spectrum 9 News that they believe that the dolphins were too afraid to swim under the bridge to return to the bay. So to encourage the animals to swim back, 14 swimmers were brought in to create a human chain to create a barrier.
“We’re able to keep that chain together,” Andy Garrett, a biologist with the Florida Fish Wildlife Conservation Commission, told CNN. “The dolphins were interested, they actually came over right away, and kind of investigated.”
The dolphins were first reported as trapped on Sunday, according to CNN. However, rescuers wanted to wait to see if they would move on their own. All told, Tuesday’s rescue took 45 minutes and was executed with just the human chain, as officials didn’t want to use anything that might cause stress to the animals like a net or boat.