reported yesterday that Riverhead finished its necropsy on the dolphin that died Friday in the Canal. The report indicates that the animal most likely died of health issue that are in no way related to the pollution in the Gowanus Canal. This is not surprising considering the animal most likely would not have wandered so far into the Canal unless something was seriously wrong. Of the various health issues that included: lack of food, parasites of the liver, and kidney stones, the fact that the dolphin was so thin is most likely the reason it wondered into the Canal in the first place. Whether the dolphin was trying to find its way to warmer water, since it did not have enough fat (thick blubber) for the winter cold, or if it was searching for food, or if it was just looking for a place to die, we will never know. What is clear is that the animal was doomed before it came into the Canal. Here’s the full statement from Riverhead that they posted on their Facebook page:

Several requests for the results of the necropsy have been received. The examination was conducted yesterday and the preliminary findings are as follows: The male adult common dolphin measured over 7 feet in length and weighed 343 lbs. The teeth exhibited a wear pattern consistent with advanced age. The body condition of the dolphin was noted as thin. Samples were collected and will be submitted for microscopic evaluation. The digestive system was noted as empty with ulcerations on the tongue and stomach lining. Parasites were noted within the liver, stomach and sinuses. The right kidney was marked by the presence of multiple kidney stones. The findings of the gross examination of this individual support a chronic debilitated health condition.

Although the animal was doomed points out that some people were not happy that Riverhead did not jump in the water to save the animal. Saving an animal is complicated no matter the situation. If an animal is sick and acting out of character than it’s difficult to know what it is going to do when a rescuer approaches it. In the case of the dolphin that made its way to the top of the Gowanus Canal, the animal was in a particularly difficult place for rescue. As everyone knows the Canal is filled with toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans and it’s filled with sludge that would make a water rescue with a wild animal extremely difficult. Officials took a gamble that high tide would save the animal. This gamble proved wrong. Many people are upset, including us, that we had to watch animal struggle before its dead. And that it had to die in such a polluted area. But those that spend their days trying to rescue animals or even those that have to deal with the bodies of animals that didn’t make it, should not be chided for the death of a doomed animal. Groups like Riverhead should be supported. They literally do this kind of hard heart breaking work everyday.

If you want anger then think about the last resting place of the dolphin. Think about the dirty water filled with oil, gas, other chemicals, and sewage that have been dumped in this waterway by us humans over the last century. We made the choice to not rescue animals in the Gowanus Canal long ago, by dumping all of our waste into it. Take that energy you have from this tragedy and put it into cleaning not only the Gowanus Canal, but waterways worldwide. Dolphins as well as all animals  deserve a clean place to live and die.