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Wayward Dolphin In Polluted New York Canal Dies

By NPR Staff | 01/26/2013

We've got some sad news, this evening: The AP is reporting that the dolphin that somehow found its way into a polluted New York City canal has died.

The New York Daily News explains that because the Gowanus Canal is so polluted, it would imperil any humans who went into the water.

So for hours, footage from TV news helicopters showed the dolphin in the canal and humans watching hopelessly.

"Unfortunately, all we can do is watch and wait for the tide to rise, so the animal can get out on its own," Robert DiGiovanni, senior biologist at the Riverhead Foundation, told the Daily News. "It's not safe for us to get people in the water."

Right before the dolphin died, NBC News reported:

"Earlier Friday, live helicopter video from NBCNewYork.com showed the sea mammal bobbing up and down in the canal's murky water — which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared a Superfund site in 2010 because it contained a 'century's worth' of pollutants.

"The dolphin appeared to be stuck in one section of the canal, coming up occasionally for air as a New York Police Department crew worked to figure out a rescue plan. It was unclear how the creature got into the predicament. The NYPD told NBC News the dolphin was stuck in the vicinity of Union Street, between Bond Street and Nevins Street, which is at least a mile into the canal and away from the Gowanus Bay."

We'll leave you with a strangely sweet moment captured by Vimeo user Aaron Stewart-Ahn.

Stewart-Ahn writes that after it was announced authorities would not try to rescue the dolphin, a man showed up in a beat up bicycle and attempted to comfort the dolphin.

"Without saying a word he entered the water. The dolphin was extremely affectionate and responded to his touch," Stewart-Ahn writes. "After awhile the man came out of the water and went home to have a shower, he said. The dolphin then headed up the canal and finally cleared the floats from the oil facility that had kept him penned in all day. But then he drifted to a group of onlookers where he stayed all evening before dying around 6pm, as snow fell."
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