Wayward dolphin still swimming in Bolsa Chica wetlands


Wildlife officials had planned to coax the animal into a tunnel that he presumably came from on Friday during high tide.

But rescuers decided on Monday to continue watching the wayward dolphin for now, saying it would be best if he found his own way out. Where he is right now, he has plenty to eat, and the water is deep enough that the changing tides will not jeopardize his health in any way, officials say.

"The last thing we want to do is force a healthy dolphin that's not in any danger right now into an area where it's going to be in a confrontation that it obviously doesn't want," said Peter Wallerstein of the Los Angeles County Marine Animal Rescue.

Marine mammal experts continue to monitor the health of the adult dolphin, which appears to be breathing normally and not showing signs of stress.

On Saturday, wildlife officials coaxed the animal out of the wetlands and into the Huntington Beach Harbor, but the dolphin bee-lined back to the wetlands after a confrontation with several other dolphins in the harbor.

"It was a really intense, negative interaction, very aggressive between the dolphins ... that forced this animal back into this area," Wallerstein said.

Officials assume that the dolphin originally came in from the harbor and went under the Warner Street bridge and into the wetlands on Friday.

The mammal has drawn a lot of spectators over the last few days.

"I think it's absolutely amazing to see a dolphin this close and in its own environment," said Shawna Fisher of Long Beach.

Experts say if the dolphin begins to show signs of stress, they may intervene, which could involve crews getting on paddleboards and coaxing the dolphin out to Huntington Harbor.

See photos of the wayward dolphin in the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach.

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