Dolphin in Gowanus Canal Examined for Cause of Death

Results were not expected immediately

Monday, Jan 28, 2013  |  Updated 8:43 AM EDT
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Chopper Video: Dolphin Stranded in Gowanus Canal

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A dolphin surfaces in the Gowanus Canal.

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Stranded Dolphin Dies in Gowanus Canal

A dolphin died Friday after it became stranded in the heavily polluted waterway.

Dolphin Stuck in Gowanus Canal

A dolphin became stranded in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn Friday. It later died. Gus Rosendale reports.
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The wayward dolphin that meandered into the polluted Gowanus Canal Friday and died is undergoing a post-mortem exam. 
 
Experts from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation were conducting a necropsy Sunday afternoon to determine the cause of death.
 
Results were not expected immediately.
 
The dolphin had riveted onlookers as it splashed around in the filthy water and shook black gunk from its snout.
 
The dolphin likely entered the canal from the Atlantic Ocean and got pinned at low tide. Marine experts had hoped the tide would help carry the animal back to sea.

The Gowanus Canal empties into New York Harbor and is surrounded by Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. It was once a major transportation route, and numerous manufacturing facilities operated along its banks for years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls it "one of the nation's most extensively contaminated water bodies," with pollutants including PCBs, coal tar waste and heavy metals.

It was added to the EPA's list of national Superfund priorities in 2010.

It may seem strange, but it's not uncommon for sea creatures to stray into city waters, though they don't often swim away alive.

A dolphin was found dead last August near Long Island, south of the canal. Another washed up in June in the Hudson River near Manhattan's Chelsea Piers sports complex.

In 2007, a baby minke whale that briefly captivated the city wandered into the Gowanus Bay and swam aimlessly before dying.

Two years later, a humpback whale took a tour of the city's waters before leaving New York Harbor safely. The 20-foot whale was first seen in Queens before it headed for Brooklyn, took a swing through the harbor and headed toward open waters near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

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