6:15 p.m. Sadly, the dolphin has died. CBS New York reports, "The wayward animal stopped moving shortly after 5:30 p.m. after getting wedged between a rock and a pillar."
5:00 p.m. Rescuers are still waiting to see if the dolphin can free itself come high tide, which rolls in around 7:10 p.m. tonight. Riverhead Foundation senior biologist Robert DiGiovanni tells New York Daily News reporters that they're not sending anyone into the water due to concerns over pollution:
Unfortunately, all we can do is watch and wait for the tide to rise, so the animal can get out on its own. It’s not safe for us to get people in the water.
Developments have also unfolded on the social media angle to this story. Californian online poker player Shane Schleger outed himself as the "The Jerk Behind @GowanusDolphin." But he fails to understand why his parody account of a dolphin in peril (which Twitter promptly took down, thankfully) got everyone on the Internet so angry:
The negative feedback stung so much harder than any amount of positive encouragement, so I think I got a taste of why entertainers are sensitive to negative commentary and so immune to the joy of positive feedback. Also, how frustrating it is when people "can't take a joke."
And The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal apologized for his earlier jokes at the dolphin's expense:
Please forgive my offenses against dolphin-kind! I didn't realize this little guy was in serious trouble until I looked at the livestream.— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) January 25, 2013
Original: Somehow, a dolphin has ended up trapped in Brooklyn's heavily polluted Gowanus Canal. The world watches with bated breath (and cruel Twitter jokes) while authorities attempt to rescue it — that is, if the dolphin can't wiggle its way out first.
No one really knows how it got there yet, but The New York Times' Andy Newman was among the first to notice the out-of-place cetacean this morning. Dolphin sightings aren't entirely unusual in New York City (in recent years they've been washing up in Queens, and residents sometimes see them frolicking near Rockaway Beach). Still, the Gowanus is obviously an unusual place to find a dolphin. "It's the first dolphin I've seen in the Gowanus Canal, and it's probably sick or injured," Rebecca Rogers-Hawson of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy told Park Slope Patch's Will Yakowicz. She speculates that the dolphin swam in during hide tide.
The Gowanus Canal isn't just an unusual place to find a dolphin—it's also a highly unsanitary place to find a dolphin. Seriously, this Superfund site has tested positive for gonorrhea and questions of toxicity linger in neighborhoods affected by Gowanus overflow during Hurricane Sandy. It's no Sea World, basically. You might be wondering how anyone could laugh at this poor creature's plight at a time like this. But on Twitter, it's never too soon:
If anyone needs me, I'll be riding that dolphin out of the Gowanus. Bro's name is Octavio, & he's just picking me up. We're going to Miami.— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) January 25, 2013
"I got stuck in the Gowanus before it was cool" - brooklyn dolphin to his buddies— Jessica Misener (@jessmisener) January 25, 2013
The Gowanus Canal dolphin is only ironically stranded, you guys.— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) January 25, 2013
the dolphin got lost on the way to the seapunk party :( bit.ly/10TmvJ7— maura johnston (@maura) January 25, 2013
haha yeah right "dolphin in the Gowanus" sure guys sounds VERY likely— Alex Pareene (@pareene) January 25, 2013
"Damn hipsters" - Mutant Crayfish RT @andylocal: Whoa! Dolphin swimming around in Gowanus Canal near Union St bridge.— colson whitehead (@colsonwhitehead) January 25, 2013
Of course there's already a parody account, and of course there's a special circle of hell reserved for the person who created it. Around a dozen police and three NYPD emergency trucks are on the scene near Fourth Ave. and Sackett St. They're currently trying to see if the dolphin can free itself, according to CNN. Watch NBC Channel 4 New York's helicopter live-stream of the rescue efforts here:
Inset image: Tim Fleischer WABC-TV