Dolphin Trapped in Gowanus Canal Dies Tragically in Toxic Waters

Heartbreaking 5

the gowanus canal
The Gowanus Canal
Sad, sad news: The dolphin who spent today trapped in the highly toxic waters of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn has died, officials say. Apparently injured and possibly tangled up in something, the approximately 7-foot-long, 200-pound creature struggled for hours as local residents, biologists and emergency responders watched helplessly. Because -- and this is the really sad part -- the Gowanus Canal is so polluted it's literally poisonous. Said Robert DiGiovanni, senior biologist at the Riverhead Foundation, “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.”

What a horrible way for this majestic animal to die. And what a horrible truth that this waterway ever got so polluted in the first place.

I used to live about a 10 minute walk from the spot where the dolphin was trapped, and it was something we used to joke about, in a morbid sort of way: Any fish living in that slime would probably have 3 heads.

For decades the canal was bordered by chemical and gas plants, factories emitting all manner of toxins. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would take about $500 million to clean up the "Superfund" site.

The saddest commentary came from a "bystander" named Cathy Ryan, who said, "He's in bad shape ... you can tell. A dolphin is grey, but he's black right now. He was starting to swim toward the middle of the canal. But it doesn't look good."

And now he's gone.

What's the most polluted waterway in your area? Does it worry you?

Image via Steven Cloud/Flickr


animals, death, environment, in the news


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Julie Winkler

so perhaps we should clean up our act and clean up the canal eh? I do not understand how humans can be so greedy and cavalier with the environment...we are living beings too...and a toxic environment is toxic to us as well as the plants and animals. wake up people, our old habits are NOT working anymore.


nonmember avatar sindy smith

Dadu the dolphin....a book read is about this very thing

nonmember avatar rc lidisky


I read your post and am saddened at the death of this innocent creature. It struck me hard, as I am an agent for Sindy Smith. Sinday has written countless kids books. The one that is a connection with this tragedy is Dadu the Dolphin. It is a wonderful message to the people to not pollute as it kills marine life. Id be more than happy to speak to Sindy and see if she would be willing to perhaps be interivewed by the local media or perhapds yourself. She does donate proceeds to various wildlife causes. She has indicated she would donate 15% to the appropriate chairty overseeing this toxic dump. Severl of her books have recently been sold on Ebay and Dadu the Dolphin is selling big time! Please google Dadu the Dolphin. If interested, Id be more than happy to forward a signed Dadu book for you!


Rick Lidisky

hjame... hjames1623

That is so sad. Dolphins are such beautiful creatures, reading of such a tragic death is heart breaking. This is why we need more environmental consultants, to make sure that we aren't interfering with the animals that were there first. Thanks for the article!

nonmember avatar Fluffy

The comment above from Rick Lidisky claiming to be Sindy Smith's "agent" is complete fiction. What a farce. In reality, he is a 53 y/o unemployed con man loser who lost his insurance license, has a long trail of personal & financial disasters a mile long, and got kicked to the curb after his wife discovered his homosexual posts & hook-up ads on Craigslist! He spends his days getting intoxicated & advertising his "services" to gay men. I truly admire Ms. Smith's desire to spead the word about animal protection issues, but her affiliation with this man does herself no favors and could be downright hazardous in many ways.

1-5 of 5 comments