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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 20:41 GMT
Battle to save NY pod of dolphins
Rescuers in a boat near a trapped dolphin
At least five dolphins have died since becoming trapped in the narrow cove
Marine biologists in the US have been struggling to rescue a pod of dolphins stranded in a shallow cove off Long Island, east of New York.

But sharp winds and choppy seas forced them to suspend efforts to encourage them to swim back into open waters.

Rescuers are using boats to "chase" the dolphins out of the narrow inlet.

At least five dolphins have died since they appeared nearly a week ago in the cove. Nine managed to swim out into Gardiner's Bay on Tuesday.

Strong swimmers

"Usually, trying to move dolphins is very difficult, it doesn't have much success. All we can do is go back and try again tomorrow," Chuck Bowman, head of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, told AFP news agency.

Mr Bowman said five or six dolphins remained trapped but were "swimming strongly".

Rescue efforts were expected to resume on Thursday morning.

The dolphins are of the common species, rather than the popular bottle-nosed variety. They are a regular site further north along the coast in areas such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Experts say they may have become trapped after chasing herring or other food into the shallow cove.

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