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Wayward Dolphin Continues To Enjoy Romping In Bolsa Chica Wetlands

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BOLSA CHICA WETLANDS (CBS) — The wayward dolphin who has been tugging at the heartstrings of locals and tourists — and confounding wildlife experts — enjoyed another day romping in the Bolsa Chica wetlands and avoiding a return to the ocean.

The dolphin first got stranded Thursday.

Wildlife experts have been trying to gently coax the dolphin back into deeper waters ever since.

He (or she?) briefly did manage to swim out to open waters –  taking advantage of the high tide at about 11 a.m. Saturday –  but wildlife experts said the wayward dolphin saw some other dolphins, reportedly got spooked and hightailed it back to the wetlands. Says Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue, “I’m not a dolphin psychologist, I don’t know what is going on in their minds. But there was some definite bullying there…it’s obvious there was tension among the group.”

Jealousy perhaps? The 7-foot-long, black-and-white dolphin was first spotted in a channel of the Bolsa Chica wetlands Friday, circling in shallow waters. He became an immediate tourist attraction.

Reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, Edward Lawrence says park rangers are keeping a 24-hour vigil. They’re not watching the dolphin — they’re watching the people watching the mammal. He says the rangers have reported traffic problems and a few people even throwing rocks at the dolphin.

Lawrence spoke with Josh Bridgewater, an Oregon native. “We see bears and cougars and rattlesnakes. But never marine life. It’s a sad situation. But it’s a chance to see marine life up close.”

By all accounts, the dolphin appears to be doing well. Wildlife experts checked the dolphin’s respiratory system Sunday morning to make sure it is still alright.

Tomorrow morning, officials may have to get a little aggressive and use a net to try to coax the wayward mammal back into the ocean.

Marine biologist Diane Alps says this type of dolphin — a common long beak — is a long range swimmer. And she is concerned the dolphin is preferring to swim in circles than romp in the ocean. “These dolphins usually travel 20, 30, 40 … probably hundreds of miles a day. He needs to be out at sea and chasing the larger fish he’s typically eating.”


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