Authorities let a dolphin stranded in Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal swim around for nearly eight hours Friday before it got trapped and died.Why didn’t anyone jump in to rescue it, when it was clearly sick and struggling in the horribly polluted canal?
The New York Times’ Andy Newman asked the Robert DiGiovanni, head of the marine mammal rescue group in charge of the region, the Riverhead Foundation, and got some answers.
The foundation weighed many factors, Mr. DiGiovanni said, among them the risk of the animal injuring itself in the process of being captured; the daunting logistics (including federal permission) and lead time required for safely removing a dolphin from water; the very low survival rate, under 10 per cent, of dolphins that are taken in for rehabilitation; and, yes, the possible danger to staff members of exposure to the canal’s toxic goo, the subject of a $500 million Superfund cleanup.
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