Brooklynites, and even the nation, watched a dolphin die in the toxic Gowanus Canal on Friday. Theories on the common dolphin’s cause of death sounded from onlookers, the media, and online commenters — claiming that the canal’s polluted waters took the dolphin to the dark side.
However, after a necropsy performed by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation on Sunday, preliminary reports claim that the polluted Superfund site had nothing to do with the seven-foot long dolphin’s demise, DNA Info first reported.
Kimberly Durham, the rescue program director at Riverhead told DNA Info that the results of a five-hour necropsy revealed that the dolphin’s age (it was 25 to 30 years old) and chronic infirmities like parasites and kidney stones killed the animal.
According to the report, Riverhead found that there was no evidence that the dolphin ingested toxins from the Gowanus — which was deemed a Superfund site in 2010 by the EPA who just released a multi-year, $500 billion cleanup plan. Instead, the necropsy suggests that the 340-pound dolphin was malnourished and its health compromised by conditions such as kidney stones, ulcerations, and parasites in its stomach.
Durham told DNA Info that the dolphin was actually "skinny" and the examination showed it had an empty stomach, suggesting that it may have lost the ability to feed itself. Blubber, which dolphins develop a big winter layer this time of the year, was also missing from the mammal.
The dolphin was having trouble breathing, Julika Wocial, the Rescue Program Supervisor and Marine biologist for Riverhead, told Patch while on the scene Friday and if anyone tried to save it the outcome could be death.
“Just touching the dolphin could cause it stress, we have to follow normal procedure and monitor it for a few tide cycles,” Wocial said while the dolphin swam in the canal.
Durham said that the dolphin diminished health had cast its fate and it was "destined to beach itself," she told DNA Info.
But commenters on Patch didn’t buy the cautionary procedures by Riverhead biologists:
“Come on. The animal was in extreme distress very early on today and you had to wait on an order to proceed. Marine biologists! You need to learn how to play politics/politicians so they don't kill off the flora and fauna that is trying thrive! Our apathy and fear will be the undoing of nature as we barely recognize it! Unconscionable!! Don't know the meaning of mercy any longer!”
What do you think? Even though the dolphin was sick and dying, should biologists performed a rescue? Let us know in the comments section below!