A dolphin is stuck in Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Riverhead Foundation marine biologists and New York City police officers are working to free the mammal from the murky waterway.
The Harbor and Emergency Service responders are hoping that when high tide hits on Friday evening, the dolphin will be able to free itself, Newsday notes.
Despite incredibly chilly temperatures, crowds have gathered along the bridge and canal bank to encourage the trapped dolphin. The injured mammal is approximately seven feet long and weighs around 200 pounds.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown had this to say about the dolphin stuck in Brooklyn:
“The responding officers will standby to assist Riverhead Foundation personnel when and if they decide it may be necessary to enter the water in the morning to aid the dolphin as the tide recedes.”
The stranded dolphin was struggling when spotted near the Union Street Bridge, according to the New York Daily News. Due to the pollution in the Gowanus Canal, rescue options for emergency workers were strictly limited.
The dolphin appears almost black in color, possibly due to the pollution and trash in the Gowanus Canal. Those gathered around voicing encouragement and prayers also noted the stench exuding off the Brooklyn waterway.
The EPA placed the Gowanus Canal on a list of “Superfund sites” in 2010. The area was once bordered by chemical plants and factories. The Brooklyn canal is regarded as one of the most polluted waterways in New York City.
Rescuers and passersby were reportedly struggling emotionally while watching the injured dolphin fight for life. It was likely very difficult for the marine biologists and other emergency workers to watch blood drip from the dolphin’s dorsal fin and not be able to help.
Riverhead Foundation senior biologist Robert DiGiovanni had this to say about the injured dolphin in the Gowanus Canal:
“Unfortunately, all we can do is watch and wait for the tide to rise, so the animal can get out on its own. It’s not safe for us to get people in the water. This is an animal that’s in really shallow water. But the water is so murky, it’s really hard to tell how it’s doing.”
Although it is not unusual for dolphins to sporadically swim in the Brooklyn, it is reportedly rare for a dolphin to break away from the pod and go it alone. Marine biologists on site also noted that is it rare for dolphins to swim so close to the Union Street Bridge.
Residents and rescuers alike are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. The odds for survival are not necessarily in the stranded dolphins favor. A young minke whale was trapped in the Gowanus Canal in 2007 and died before it could be coerced back into the open water.
[Image via: Who’s Talking]