The dolphin that got stuck in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal died Friday evening.
Marine experts had hoped the high tide, around 7:10 pm, would help the dolphin escape the canal. However, according to CBS New York, the dolphin stopped moving shortly after 5:30 pm after it got wedged between a rock and a pillar below the Union Street Bridge.
Witnesses said they the dolphin struggling to get itself out of the tight spot. It hit its head against the pillar before it stopped moving and began floating. The dolphin bobbed around in the water for a little bit before dying.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named the Gowanus Canal was named one of the most contaminated water bodies in the nation in 2011. The EPA also named it a Superfund site, which is a federal government program to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the United States. According to the agency, the canal is contaminated with “PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals, and volatile organics.”
Because of the pollution and toxicity of the canal, emergency services waited to see if the dolphin could free itself before attempting to rescue it. Despite the cold, crowds gathered at the canal to try and encourage the trapped animal.
Before the animal died, David Kirby, who studies whales and dolphins, said, “The fact that it’s here by itself in this polluted water tells me it was in trouble a long time ago. It’s probably sick. It’s definitely disoriented.”
Sea animals straying into the city isn’t as uncommon as it sounds. Last August, a dolphin was found dead near Long Island, south of the Gowanus Canal. In June, another dolphin washed up in the Hudson River near Chelsea Piers. And in 2007, a baby minke whale swam aimlessly around Gowanus Bay before it died.