UPDATE: As of 6:36 p.m., the Associated Press reported that the wayward dolphin that swam into a polluted New York City canal has died.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation says the dolphin died Friday evening. It doesn’t know how the dolphin died.
In frigid weather, the dolphin wandered into the Gowanus (guh-WAH’-nuhs) Canal earlier Friday.
The dolphin appeared to be about 7 feet long. It surfaced periodically and shook black gunk from its snout in the dirty water.
Experts had hoped the dolphin would free itself from the area during the evening’s high tide.
Dolphin sightings around New York are rare but not unheard of. Dolphins getting stuck in the putrid waterways of Brooklyn? That’s a new one in our book.
Even by New York City standards, the Gowanus Canal is devastatingly polluted. It’s no place to be stuck, especially where this dolphin appears to be located — near its most inland point at Union Street in Brooklyn.
The Gowanus Canal is a 1.3-mile long offshoot of New York’s Upper Bay, forming the border between the Red Hook and Park Slope neighborhoods of western Brooklyn. Back in the 1800s, when Brooklyn was a major manufacturing hub, the canal was an important link between inland factories and New York harbor, allowing Brooklyn’s goods – soap, cement, oil and machinery of all types – to be transported around the world.
But over the decades the canal became treacherously unsanitary. And when manufacturing in the area declined it was left a giant mess – even declared a Superfund site by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Our best advice comes courtesy of TIME reporter Kayla Webley:
Dear dolphin stranded in Gowanus canal: Don't inhale. bit.ly/WrekNQ—
Kayla Webley (@kaylawebley) January 25, 2013