A distressed dolphin died on Friday after wandering into a notoriously polluted New York City canal, according to a marine research group that was monitoring the animal.
The animal, a common dolphin, died in the shallow waters of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, said Valentina Sherlock, an employee at The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, whose biologists were keeping watch over the dolphin on behalf of police and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A decision on what to do with the carcass would likely be made on Saturday, Sherlock said.
Earlier in the day, the animal appeared to be disoriented and seemed to be struggling to avoid getting stuck in the muddy floor of the shallow canal, said Mendy Garron, a marine mammals response coordinator from NOAA.
“When we see animals that come in, especially this far, and get into these situations they are typically very disoriented, and it’s an indicator that they’re either sick or injured,” Garron said, adding that healthy common dolphins are rarely seen separated from their pod.
“They usually don’t survive these types of stranding events,” she said.
The dolphin’s sex and age were unknown.
Some New Yorkers who visited the dolphin on Friday took to the Internet to describe its plight.
“This is stupid and I’m sorry, but it does seem like dolphin is looking up at humans for help,” Dave Bry, a writer who lives in New York, wrote on Twitter as he watched the scene from a bridge over the canal. “Jeez. Could that be?”
The Environmental Protection Agency declared the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site in 2010, calling it one of the country’s “most extensively contaminated water bodies,” laced with heavy metals, coal tar wastes and other pollutants from the factories and tanneries that have lined its banks.
The EPA is still working on its plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money to clean up the canal.
In late December, a finback whale died after beaching in the New York City borough of Queens.
Source: Chicago Tribune