Four dolphins in Canada were saved this week by good samaritans and... Facebook.
According to The Vancouver Sun, Bob Solc first spotted four Pacific Whiteside dolphins early Tuesday morning, on the mud flats of Vancouver Island's Oyster Bay.
Solc says that the dolphins had beached themselves in the middle of the bay as the tide was going out. "They were up in the mud. You could see them kick a little bit from the road every once in a while so I knew they were alive."
At that point, Solc began calling neighbors, and the story spread quickly on Facebook, Twitter and a local radio station.
CBC News reports that soon after 7am, over 50 people had shown up to help save the dolphins.
Some volunteers worked to keep the dolphins wet, while others gently placed them on tarps, and carried them back to the ocean.
According to Lisa Spaven of Marine Mammal Response Biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, it's unclear why the dolphins were beached. While ideally she would have done a veterinary assessment, the urgency of the situation did not give her that option. She told The Vancouver Sun:
"It's certainly a possibility that the reason they live-stranded here today was due to feeding in shallow waters and they weren't aware of the tide. There's also the possibility of injury or some kind of illness. There's also the possibility that killer whales chased them in here. There have been a lot of dolphins and a lot of killer whales in the Strait of late, so we can't really say for sure."
Spaven herself confirmed that the dolphins were in trouble based on a Facebook report, and says, "Certainly Facebook and Twitter are very good things when it comes to these kind of urgent situations."
Other dolphins in recent months have not been so lucky. In March, four dolphins were killed in San Diego Bay due to an underwater training blast conducted by the U.S. Navy. Also, NOAA reported in May that 153 dead dolphins have washed ashore along the Gulf Coast since the beginning of this year.
WATCH the report by Newsy: