NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The dolphin that appeared to have lost its way and became stranded in the Gowanus Canal died early Friday evening.
The wayward animal stopped moving shortly after 5:30 p.m. after getting wedged between a rock and a pillar below the Union Street Bridge, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
Witnesses said they saw the dolphin flop around and struggle and hit its head against a pillar before it stopped moving and began floating.
The NYPD Harbor and Emergency Service Units were on the scene along with marine mammal experts from the Riverhead Foundation. As Brooklynites gathered around, the dolphin stayed in one spot bobbing its head above the surface rhythmically before it eventually died.
“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,” David Kirby, who studies whales and dolphins, earlier told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.
“It is a pity that this poor dolphin is stuck in the Gowanus Canal,” said Linda Mariano, who lives a few blocks away.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the Riverhead Foundation was waiting to see if the dolphin would be able to free itself during the evening’s high tide.
In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency called the canal “one of the most contaminated water bodies in the nation.”
Because of years of sewer outflows and industrial pollutants, the Gowanus Canal has been labeled a Superfund site by the EPA, CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey reported.