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Dolphin that was stuck in Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal dies

January 25, 2013|By Michael Muskal and Marisa Gerber
  • A dolphin, unable to return to open water, swims in the frigid Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn on Friday. The dolphin later died as temperatures dropped.
A dolphin, unable to return to open water, swims in the frigid Gowanus Canal… (Justin Lane / European Pressphoto…)

The wayward dolphin that got stuck in a murky, contaminated Brooklyn canal Friday has died.

Earlier, people gathered on shore to watch as the dolphin meandered through the polluted water of Gowanus canal, which borders the neighborhoods of Red Hook and South Brooklyn. The canal has been known for more than a century for the high level of pollution caused by industrial and other wastes.

Authorities had hoped the dolphin could escape on its own during high tide, but were prepared to put divers in to help if needed.

“We did just get confirmation that it did not make it,” said Joanne Biegert, a spokeswoman for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, a rescue group in New York.

According to video shot at the scene, the dolphin appeared to be about 7 feet long. It periodically surfaced and appeared to be trying to snort away a dark material.

In 2007, a baby minke whale -- immediately nicknamed Sludgie -- was trapped in the narrow canal. It died before it could be coaxed to leave.

The area was once known for its factories and is generally regarded as one of the more polluted parts of the city. In 2010, it was named a federal Superfund site by the  Environmental Protection Agency.


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