BOLSA CHICA (CBS) — Wildlife experts have stopped trying to coax a wayward dolphin back out to sea.
The animal has been tugging at the heartstrings of locals and tourists — and confounding wildlife experts — since it was first spotted in the Bolsa Chica wetlands Friday morning.
It briefly swam to open waters during high tide on Saturday morning, but became spooked when it encountered a pod of dolphins experts initially thought were waiting for the animal.
“They aggressively forced him or her back into this area,” Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue told CBS2. “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? Park rangers have been monitoring dozens of onlookers, some of whom were caught throwing rocks at the 7-foot, black-and-white mammal.
Wildlife experts checked the common long beak dolphin’s respiratory system Sunday and say it appears to be healthy, but are concerned that its swimming in circles.
“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,” marine biologist Diane Alps said.
Officials with NOAA, who arrived at the scene Monday morning, say the dolphin knows how to exit the wetlands, but is choosing to stay there. They will leave the dolphin alone unless it appears to become sick. SeaWorld has also offered to assist with any care the animal may eventually need.