Last week, a 7-foot dolphin was discovered in the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach and appears to be lost and “very confused”.
The dolphin, which spectators have nicknamed Fred, is said to have entered the wetlands with a pod of 5 to 6 other dolphins which were probably chasing a school of fish. While the rest of the pod swam back out to sea, Fred stayed behind.
Peter Wallerstein, a marine biologist with the Marine Animal Rescue service and five State Department of Fish and Game officers managed to lure the dolphin closer to sea. But before reaching freedom, Fred swam back into the wetland after noticing a group of dolphins circling nearby, which were likely his own pod.
Shortly after, the pod left the Bolsa Chica lagoon and swam back to sea, once again leaving Fred behind. Rescuers are surprised and unsure why Fred is afraid of his own pod.
Noting that Fred appears to be healthy and “capable of going many days without eating”, rescuers have decided to let Fred find his own way out to sea when he is ready. “He proved he can get out if he wants to. There are no red flags. I’m not concerned,” said Wallerstein. Rescuers say they will reattempt to help Fred to freedom if he is still in the wetland on Saturday.
Wallerstein as well as Fish and Game officials say that the crowd of spectators are likely causing stress for the dolphin. They have advised the crowd to keep away from the area so the dolphin can leave the wetland.
Although the crowd may be unintentionally causing harm, on looker David Gonzalez says the community’s concern is inspiring. “It shows community support and community service for the environment,” said Gonzalez.
We hope Fred will find his way to to freedom soon.