Marine rescuers search for West Side dolphin
Marine scientists are scrambling to find a dolphin that took a swim through the Hudson River Sunday to make sure it has a safe vacation in the Big Apple.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation has received numerous calls from New Yorkers who spotted the 6-foot mammal.
Kim Durham, the foundation's rescue program director is urging eyewitnesses to call its hotline and provide more information, because the dolphin may need help.
"We are concerned that it is by itself," she said.
Based off photos published on DNAinfo.com Monday, Durham said it might be a bottle nosed dolphin.
Coastal bottle nosed dolphins can be found as far north as New Jersey, but in recent years they have been discovered in parts of Long Island, according to Durham.
The West Side dolphin was spotted and photographed around 14th Street Sunday afternoon and there were reports of sightings above West 100 Street, Durham said.
The rescue specialist said most dolphins can navigate easily through urban waters, however the New York environment can still pose problems.
Unlike other animals that wandered the city, like the Central Park coyote in 2010, bottlenose dolphins may have to swim for miles before it can find small fish for sustenance, Durham said.
"We'd like to check its weight, skin and other factors," she said.
The foundation is home to a 30-foot diameter dolphin pool and has a team of experts who can rehabilitate the mammal. The last time they performed a successful rescue and treatment was five years ago when they found a dolphin in Suffolk County.
Since then, however, the institute has not been able to help stranded New York dolphins before it was too late and is hoping it can avoid the same fate.
"We want to get on scene and get our eyes on the animal," Durham said.
Anyone with information is urged to call 631-369-9829.