Wayward Dolphin Trapped in Bolsa Chica Wetlands
Helicopters circled, crowds gathered to gawk and worry, and traffic snarled along Pacific Coast Highway as a disoriented dolphin circled in the shallow, murky waters of the Bolsa Chica wetlands Friday.
The 7-foot dolphin — nicknamed Fred by some of the spectators — apparently swam mistakenly into the wetlands with five companions earlier in the week. While the dolphin’s pod mates returned to sea, the one called Fred stayed behind.
“They were probably chasing fish through the Huntington Harbour and lost their way,” said Dean Gomersall, animal care supervisor with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.
Gomersall said the dolphin looked healthy and could go days without eating, but appeared “very confused.”
Rescuers waded into the water in hopes of slipping the dolphin into a harness and guiding it through an inlet and back out to sea. But the dolphin proved elusive. It swam in circles, chasing fish. Occasionally it splashed. And sometimes it nosed under the water and seemed to disappear.