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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
Katrina dolphin rescue launched
Gulfport Marine Oceanarium workers try to rescue dolphins swept away by Hurricane Katrina

Wildlife experts say they have rescued two dolphins swept away from their aquarium after Hurricane Katrina, and hope to save another six.

Jackie, who is 30 years old, and her offspring, Toni, 16, were picked off the coast of Mississippi on Thursday.

The animals were sighted in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday after being washed from their aquarium in Gulfport.

The bottlenose dolphins have lived most of their lives in captivity and cannot fend for themselves in the wild.

'Thrilled'

Moby Solangi, owner of the Marine Life Aquarium, said there was huge concern for the wellbeing of the animals.

She said: "Once we realised the dolphins had been swept out to sea during the hurricane, we feared that they had died.

They'll surely die if we don't rescue them
Connie Barclay
US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"We are just thrilled that they have stayed together during the past couple of weeks."

Rescuers said they planned to train the mammals to jump on to mats alongside their boats, before taking them to salt-water tanks to recover.

It was not clear if that is how Jackie and Toni were rescued.

Experts from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service were helping with the rescue attempt.

NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Connie Barclay had earlier said if the animals could not be trained, they would have to be captured in nets.

"They'll surely die if we don't rescue them," she said.

A wave estimated to be 40ft (12m) high swept the mammals from their tank at the aquarium and into Mississippi Sound when Katrina struck on 29 August.




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