Scientists Try to Figure Out Why Dolphin Died in Brooklyn

The dolphin in the New York City’s Gowanus Canal on Friday

It’ll probably take several weeks before anyone knows exactly why a dolphin swam up a polluted canal in New York City.

The dolphin died Friday evening, hours after it was first spotted in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

Experts say the animal was probably very sick before it swam into the canal.

But until the end, they held out hope that it might swim back out to the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 20 miles away.

“The option that gave the animal the best chance for a positive outcome was waiting,” said Robert DiGiovanni, the executive director of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, in an interview with Reuters news service.

But as it turned out, the waiting was for naught.

Some people got angry, saying that the dolphin might have been saved had the Riverhead people or the police department tried to rescue it.

But according to DiGiovanni, that probably would have done more harm than good.

He told the New York Times that the capture would have been so stressful that the process itself could have killed the animal.

“In many cases where there is a (sick or injured) animal and we intervene, they die as soon we get them on the stretcher,” he said.

And unfortunately, even if the rescue were successful, DiGiovanni says that animals that are that sick often beach themselves somewhere else, as soon as they’re freed.

According to the Times, the dolphin was an older male.

It was approximately seven feet long and reportedly weighed 345 pounds.

On Sunday, the folks at the Riverhead Foundation planned to perform a necropsy on the dolphin.

(A necropsy is the animal version of an autopsy – a thorough examination to determine the cause of death.)

But they weren’t expecting to get a clear answer about the exact cause of death immediately.

Unfortunately, there’s no happy ending to this dolphin’s tale.

For better or for worse, we humans can’t always control nature.