The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says all but three of the white-beaked dolphins trapped in ice near Cape Ray are now dead.
The animals were originally thought to be porpoises by local residents who found the animals on Sunday.
DFO officers visited the site this morning and determined there is nothing they can do for the remaining animals.
According to a spokesperson for DFO, that section of coastline forms a natural whale trap, due to the geography and currents.
In 1987, six blue whales were driven ashore in about the same location.
The spokesperson said the remaining animals are in very poor condition. Current weather conditions are not helping matters.
“We caution against rescue efforts by the public as they pose safety risks to the animals in distress and those attempting to help them,” said the spokesperson.
DFO reminds the public that it is illegal to disturb a marine mammal.
A pod of porpoises were trapped in the ice just north of Cape Ray on Sunday afternoon.
Cape Ray resident Tommy Anderson said he found the animals while out for a drive on his side-by-side.
He said they’re in an area north of the community known locally as Northwest Cove.
“It’s a sin because I don’t know what they could do,” said Anderson. “They’re literally right tight to the shore. The ice is in, and as far as you can see there’s nothing but ice.
He estimates there are about three dozen of the animals.
“I watched them for a couple minutes and I had to leave because I get pretty soft hearted when it comes to these things,” he said. “You can hear the sounds that they’re making – talking to each other. It’s almost like a tweeting noise.”
Another resident of Cape Ray, Bert Osmond, went out to take photos and videos. By the time he arrived there was hardly any open water.
“The ice is coming in over them and driving them right ashore,” he said.
He doesn’t think there is anything that can be done for the animals.
Other people commenting on Facebook said they had been in touch with DFO.