A dolphin who apparently swam in with the tide was trapped in a shallow creek off Coney Island. Police say the dolphin swam under a debris boom blocking the mouth of the creek during low tide.
Experts say the creek is a much too shallow and polluted place for it to survive. Recent history revealed that survival in shallow and polluted water is unlikely as evidenced by the one that was trapped in the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal earlier this year. Officials are hopeful for survival or escape back to the ocean, however.
The dolphin was distressed and swimming in circles when a bystander spotted the dolphin just after 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.
Officials say the dolphin swam into Coney Island Creek about 3/4 mile during high tide. Conservation groups, police and firefighters surrounded the small inlet at Cropsey Avenue and Bay 54th Street trying to persuade the dolphin to swim back into the ocean.
Police LT. Barry Duignan was concerned for the dolphin, and stated, “If they get in really shallow water, they can get stressed out,” he could be sick for having swam into such a shallow body of water like this.”
Long Island Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation workers also tried to encourage the dolphin out of that shallow water, causing the dolphin to attempt to beach itself, but then it disappeared.
The teams gave up Thursday evening after several failed attempts, hoping that the rising tide would bring in enough water to allow the dolphin to escape back to the ocean.
Bystander, Patricia Sener, who works closeby, when interviewed stated, “They tend not to come this far up — polluted waterway like this — if they’re not looking for a place to die… we all want a positive outcome and we want to try to help, but it seems like the best thing to do is to let Mother Nature take her course.”
Police and officials said they would try to coax the dolphin out as the tides grew higher, but were looking for ways to help it slip out of the creek sooner.
State conservation officer said officials will return Friday morning during low tide to look for the dolphin.