North East Wales

Dolphin still swimming in River Dee in Flintshire

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Media captionThere are concerns the dolphin could become stranded

A dolphin which swam miles up the River Dee in Flintshire remains in the area, coastguards have said.

The mammal was spotted by the public in Connah's Quay docks on Monday but swam up river to Saltney, near Chester.

It became stranded briefly on Tuesday afternoon after turning to make its way to Flint and back towards the sea.

But on Wednesday the dolphin was again seen swimming upstream from Saltney Ferry towards Chester and there are concerns it could become stranded.

"He's in shallow water and it seems he's trying to find a deep water channel," a spokesperson for Liverpool coastguard said.

A coastguard team was deployed to the area to try to ensure the safety of spectators trying to catch a glimpse of the dolphin.

It is rare for dolphins to be seen in the River Dee but a pair of porpoises were reported near Queensferry Bridge eight years ago.

A team of specially trained volunteers from the charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue have been keeping track of the dolphin and will continue to do so until it finds its way back to sea.

Stephen Marsh from the charity said the dolphin was swimming upstream from Saltney Ferry, heading towards Chester.

"We thought it had gone back to sea last night but with spring tides on the Dee there's a tidal bore which may have swept it back into the river," he said.

"It's still looking healthy and it's feeding as it makes its way along the river."

He said volunteers and coastguards were tracking the dolphin's progress.

"If it does become stranded we're hoping to call on the local lifeboat crew at Flint to go to its aid and take it back out to sea," he added.

Tom McGovern, who runs the Wild Area community conservation company in Saltney, said: "I just hope that the professionals are able to do something to help him get back out to sea.

"A lot of people are out there trying to spot him, but hopefully the high tide will take him out again."

Mr McGovern was involved in checking the dolphin's progress in the Dee until late on Tuesday night and at one point went to the mammal's aid when it became stranded on a sandbank near Queensferry.

"I just nudged him along a bit," he said. "We kept an eye on him until it went dark and by that time he was only four or five miles from sea."

Image caption Marine experts said it was important that the dolphin was not disturbed by members of the public

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