Wildlife experts today kept watchful and concerned eyes over a dolphin that has decided to make the shallows of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve his home for the last four days.
Rescuers even had someone stay nearby overnight with the dolphin, said Peter Wallerstein of the El Segundo-based nonprofit Marine Animal Rescue group.
``We just don't abandon this (dolphin)," Wallerstein said. ``We have some dedicated volunteers."
That dedication included checking the mammal's respiratory system this morning to make sure he was not stressed out over his new accommodations.
``He's in the same area that we located him on Thursday," he said. ``He's not trapped -- even at low tide.
``We're just watching his behavior. He's still showing normal behavior."
But Monday may prove to be a different day, Wallerstein said.
``We'll probably be a little more aggressive tomorrow in getting him out," he said.
Marine mammal experts were able to get the roughly 7-footer under the Warner Avenue overpass into deeper water in Huntington Harbour Saturday, where some other dolphins apparently startled it and it retreated back into the lagoon.
``It looked scared, but it swam well,'' said Wallerstein, who is a veteran sea mammal wrangler.
State wildlife officials are also monitoring the situation and have said they may harness dolphin and haul it into deeper water if it doesn't go on his own.
The dolphin likely followed some food into the shallow, marshy area during a high tide on Thursday, when it first drew a crowd, including a diver who wanted to get a closer look and several people on paddle boards who tried to shoo the big adult, estimated to weigh about 500 pounds, back into the harbor, which communicates with the ocean.
Wallerstein urged people to keep their distance. Though generally not aggressive, dolphins can use their speed and torpedo shape to ram enemies, which can be dangerous.
- City News Service