A dolphin found its way into the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn on Friday bringing a crowd of spectators out to watch the sea creature try to navigate the murky waters of the polluted waterway. The lone adult dolphin struggled as it made its way up the canal and as the day ended, the sea creature lost its fight trying to survive and died, according to the New York Times on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.
The crowd of people braved the bitter cold temperature to watch the dolphin as it had difficulty swimming in the 1.8 mile-long waterway. One man even climbed down into the water’s edge to pet the dolphin as it struggled to keep alive. Julie Wocial, a marine biologist from the Riverhead Foundation, which is a rescue group, reported that the dolphin showing up alone was a worry because they usually travel in pods. She described the marine creature as a common adult dolphin that weighed about 200 pounds.
The dolphin struggled to swim in the shallow waters due to low tide and the plan was to try and rescue the dolphin during the high tide, but the dolphin just didn’t make it. Wocial monitored the dolphin’s swimming and breathing patterns in hopes of finding out what the dolphin was ailing from.
At one point during the day a woman at the arts center near the canal saw the dolphin actually flip over after getting stuck among the pipes that empty into the canal. She thought the creature was a “goner” then, but it was able to free itself and continue swimming.
The Gowanus Canal is a waterway that acts as a receptacle for sewage spill off. It was also a waterway that saw industrial waste emptied into it for years. The canal is in various stages of decay and not the most hospitable waters for sustaining sea life.
This isn’t the first time that a large marine animal found its way up the canal, but usually when high tide comes, the animals swim back out to the ocean.
In 2007 a 12-foot Minke whale swam near the canal. The spectators back then nick-named the whale Sludgie because of the condition of the water in the canal. After two days of attempting to save the whale, it died.