Dolphin stranded in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal

Posted at 1:35 PM, Jan 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-25 15:10:34-05

A dolphin, bobbing its head and seemingly injured or sick, is stranded in Brooklyn’s polluted Gowanus Canal.

The dolphin is in the area of Union Street and Nevins Street.

“This is a first. We’ve seen seals in the past. Never this,” an Emergency Service Unit officer told PIX11 News.

ESU officers had been preparing scuba tanks for a dive, though it appears a rescue isn’t imminent until at least the evening.

Authorities are waiting for the next high tide at 7:10 p.m. to see if the dolphin can free itself,  NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown said in  a statement. The NYPD will help mammal experts from the Riverhead Foundation  “when and if they decide it may be necessary to enter the water in the morning to aid  the dolphin as the tide recedes.”

“We are going to wait a few tide cycles before we go near it,” Julika Wocial of the Riverhead Foundation told PIX11 News.

Robert Mina, owner of a lot along the Gowanus where the rescue is being coordinated, was surprised to see the dolphin.

“I was a little shocked that it would come up this far,” Mina said.


Police tape is put into place at the scene where the NYPD is working on the dolphin rescue along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

He’s worried about its health, and hopes it can be rescued soon.

“It’s imperative. That water is toxic,” Mina said.


Onlookers watch the dolphin rescue efforts along the Gowanus Canal. (Mario Diaz/PIX11News)

Indeed, the Gowanus has been a toxic-waste dump for more than a century and was recently declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. The designation was controversial, as it was seen as damaging development prospects in the area.

In 2007,  a whale who became known as Sludgie the Whale entered Gowanus Bay.  That whale, a baby minke, died.

Check in for updates on and on the PIX11 News at 5.

Rolando Pujol contributed to this report