Injured dolphin dies in polluted NYC waterway

A dolphin surfaces in the Gowanus Canal in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The New York City Police Dept. said animal experts were waiting to see if the dolphin would leave on its own during the evening's high tide. If not, they plan to lend a hand on Saturday morning.
AP Photo/Richard Drew

An injured dolphin that was spotted stranded in Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal died early Friday evening, CBS New York station WINS-AM reports.

The animal, who appeared to have lost its way before getting stuck in the polluted New York City waterway, stopped moving at about 5:30 p.m. after getting wedged between a rock and a pillar below a bridge.

Brooklynites braved the frigid weather to gather around the dolphin throughout the afternoon, as NYPD Harbor and Emergency Service Units were on scene with marine mammal experts from the Riverhead Foundations.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the Riverhead Foundation was waiting to see if the dolphin would be able to free itself during the evening's high tide.

Witnesses told the station they saw the dolphin hit its head against a pillar while it flopped around before it stopped moving and began floating.

"The fact that it's here by itself in this polluted water tells me it was in trouble a long time ago," whale and dolphin expert David Kirby told WCBS-AM earlier Friday. "It's probably sick. It's definitely disoriented."

In 2011, the Environment Protection Agency said canal is "one of the most contaminated water bodies in the nation," largely due to years of sewer outflows and industrial pollutants.

According to The Associated Press, it's not the first time a wayward animal met a grim fate while drifting too close to the city. A dolphin was found dead last August near Long Island, south of the canal. Another washed up in the Hudson River by Manhattan's Chelsea Piers sports complex in June. In 2007, a baby minke whale wandered into the Gowanus Bay and swam aimlessly before dying.