Without so much as a slap of the tail, the wayward dolphin that captured attention when he appeared in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve last month swam out to sea over the weekend and hasn't been back since.
"The dolphin is officially gone,'' said Peter Wallerstein of the El Segundo-based nonprofit Marine Animal Rescue group.
The 7-foot mammal, which first appeared April 27, was seen by volunteer monitors Friday night leaving the preserve and entering Huntington Harbor, which leads to open ocean, he said. The animal has not been seen since.
The 7-foot adult male was first spotted circling the shallow wetlands last month. The creature was originally thought to be trapped, and rescue crews worked to usher him out into the open waters of Huntington Harbor on its second day in the wetlands. He swam into the harbor until two aggressive dolphins that had been circling in the harbor for days charged him, sending him retreating to the shallows in a hurry, said Wallerstein, a 27-year veteran of marine mammal rescues.
Rather than force a potentially dangerous confrontation, the volunteers decided to monitor the situation, allowing the dolphin to dwell in the wetlands until he felt it was time to leave.
The circling dolphins had been spotted in the harbor Friday morning but not since then.
- City News Service contributed to this report.
Tell us in the comments:
Did you get to see the dolphin while it was here?