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Wayward dolphin surprises New Yorkers

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 9:04 p.m.

NEW YORK — A dolphin swam into a polluted canal on Friday, and marine experts watched to see if it would head back out to the ocean on its own or would need help.

The deep-freeze weather did not seem to faze the dolphin as it splashed around in the Gowanus Canal, which runs 1.5 miles through a narrow industrial zone near some of Brooklyn's wealthiest neighborhoods.

Bundled-up onlookers took cellphone photos, and a news helicopter hovered overhead.

The dolphin, which appeared to be about 7 feet long, surfaced periodically and shook black gunk from its snout in the polluted water.

The New York Police Department said marine experts with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation were waiting to see if the dolphin would leave the canal on its own during high tide, which lasts from about 7:10 p.m. until Saturday morning. If not, they planned to lend a hand on Saturday.

The foundation, based in Riverhead, on eastern Long Island, specializes in cases involving whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles.

The filthy canal was named a Superfund site in 2010, meaning the government can force polluters to pay for its restoration.

For more than a century before, coal yards, chemical factories and fuel refineries on the canal's banks discharged everything from tar to purple ink into the water, earning it the local nickname The Lavender Lake.

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