Wayward dolphin dies in polluted New York canal

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm •  Published: January 25, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — A wayward dolphin that meandered into a polluted urban canal, riveting onlookers as it splashed around in the filthy water and shook black gunk from its snout, died Friday evening, marine experts said.

The deep-freeze weather hadn't seemed to faze the dolphin as it swam in the Gowanus Canal, which runs 1.5 miles through a narrow industrial zone near some of Brooklyn's wealthiest neighborhoods.

Marine experts had hoped high tide, beginning around 7:10 p.m., would help the dolphin leave the canal safely. But the dolphin was confirmed dead shortly before then, said the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

Experts aim to conduct a necropsy to determine why the dolphin died, but it may well have been ill when it got into the canal, said Robert DiGiovanni, a senior biologist with the foundation, which specializes in cases involving whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles. Staffers were having trouble getting to the dolphin's body on a snowy night.

The New York Police Department said the marine foundation's experts had planned to help the dolphin on Saturday morning if it didn't get out of the canal during high tide. DiGiovanni said the experts had decided to hold off intervening Friday because of the stress the dolphin might have experienced in being captured.

"We erred on the side of saying, 'OK, if this is an animal that were just lost or disoriented, this would be the least invasive course of action, to give it the most chance of success,'" he said.

Earlier, with the dolphin swimming about and surfacing periodically, bundled-up onlookers took cellphone photos, and a news helicopter hovered above the Gowanus Canal.



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